Subha and Tika Katel moved to Fairfield less than a year ago and were living the American Dream, family members said Tuesday.
For most of their 26-year marriage, they worked at the same places and the same shifts, family members said. Then when they arrived home, they worked together in their garden. Indra Katel, their 21-year-old son, said his father built furniture for the family.
“They loved each other,” said Khagen Ghimirey, Subha’s brother from Harrisburg, Penn.
Family members of Subha Katel believe the 43-year-old who is accused of shooting Tika Katel, 57, on Saturday while handling a cousin’s gun “will be cleared” of the charges.
“It was a horrific accident,” said Anju Ghimirey, a relative from Harrisburg, Penn. “She is also a victim.”
Fairfield police were told that just after 3 p.m. Saturday, Subha Katel saw a handgun holstered in the waistband of a cousin, Subash Katel, who was with other relatives visiting from Pennsylvania, according to Fairfield Municipal Court documents and family members.
They were in town to visit Tika’s mother, who is ill, said family members.
Subash Katel was seated in the living room and “in a matter of seconds, Subha Katel saw the gun and grabbed the gun from the holster. As she was grabbing the gun … Subha Katel asked Subash Katel if the gun was a toy or real,” according to the court documents.
Multiple 911 calls were made, including one by a 9-year-old family member who was visiting the Katel home.
It’s rare to see weapons that are not possessed by law enforcement officers in Nepal, the family’s native country. She never handled a firearm before, and only saw a toy gun close to a decade ago, family members said.
As Subha Katel questioned if the gun was real, police said she allegedly pulled the trigger and fired the weapon. Subha Katel said she was trying to hand the gun back to Subash Katel when it “went off,” and she was uncertain if she actually handed it back to her cousin or she dropped it.
Tika Katel, 57, was struck by a bullet in the left side of his head. He was transported to Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital by an ambulance and then transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
He died Monday, according to the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office.
Subha Katel was charged with negligent homicide, a first-degree misdmeanor. She is scheduled to appear in Fairfield Municipal Court on Aug. 21.
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