Wal-Mart shooter faces felony charge
By ASHLEY SMITH, Telegraph Staff
Published: Thursday, Sep. 7, 2006
HUDSON – Charles Masterson was always taught that it’s safest to point a gun at the sky when it’s not being used, so that’s what he did when he stepped into a bathroom stall at the local Wal-Mart to relieve himself, he told police.
The precaution backfired when the gun went off and struck a ceiling tile, scaring the pants back on Wal-Mart employee, who came running out of the next stall. For placing that teenager in serious danger, police are holding Masterson criminally responsible.
Masterson, 36, of 23 Brook St., No. 3 in Nashua, was jailed overnight after the gun discharged, but released on personal recognizance Wednesday after an arraignment in Nashua District Court. Charged with felony reckless conduct, Masterson is accused of discharging the weapon in the bathroom of the Hudson Wal-Mart around 9 p.m. Tuesday. His 13-year-old son was also in the bathroom at the time, police said.
In an interview with police later that night, Masterson said he had been carrying the Glock 9mm pistol in his waistband. When asked why he felt the need to carry a concealed handgun at Wal-Mart, Masterson replied: “Well, I have the right to bear arms, you know.”
The Wal-Mart employee, 17-year-old Adam Carew of Dracut, Mass., told police he was in the handicapped accessible stall when he heard the gunshot. Carew said he ran out and saw Masterson’s son covering his ears. Masterson walked out of his stall, put the gun in his pants and “just walked right out of the bathroom like nothing happened,” Carew told police.
Store employees called police, and Masterson complied when management asked him to stay until they arrived.
At the Wednesday hearing, Masterson asked Judge Thomas Rappa Jr. to reduce his $5,000 cash or surety bail, maintaining that he is not a flight risk and he cannot afford it while paying child support.
Rappa agreed to change Masterson’s bail to $25,000 personal recognizance, which means he pays nothing as long as he stays out of trouble. “I’m talking not even a stop sign violation,” Rappa said.
Sgt. Donna Briggs, the Hudson prosecutor, requested that Masterson’s apartment be searched as a condition of his bail. Masterson agreed to the search, which was to be conducted by Nashua police immediately after his release.
Briggs also asked that Masterson have no contact with Wal-Mart or its employees, which the judge imposed.
Carew, the Wal-Mart employee, could not be reached for comment. His father, Art Carew, said his son was “pretty shaken up” by the whole thing.