Case dismissed: Charge dropped for woman accused of leaving loaded gun in church restroom
WAUKESHA COUNTY (WITI) — Case dismissed. That was the ruling from the court on Tuesday, March 31st as to 67-year-old Susan Hitchler — accused of bringing a loaded gun into a restroom at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield.
Hitchler was in court on Tuesday as the defense’s motion to dismiss the case was discussed.
It was ruled that Hitchler legally had a concealed carry permit, and though she was negligent in leaving her firearm in the church’s restroom, that negligence doesn’t rise to the level of criminal charges.
An initial charge of endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon was dropped against Hitchler in June 2014 — but a criminal complaint filed on November 24th charged her with disorderly conduct.
The Brookfield Police Department was called in to investigate after a loaded gun was found in the Elmbrook Church’s bathroom in March 2014 — while a children’s program was in progress.
A church worker discovered the gun in a stall in the women’s restroom on the main floor of Elmbrook Church.
A criminal complaint says a female employee came out of the bathroom after finding the gun, and carried it to a volunteer worker at the front desk. The report indicates the woman was not practicing good muzzle control and asked the worker if the gun was real.
A criminal complaint says the gun was a Ruger LCP .380 semi-automatic, loaded with a full magazine containing six nosler rounds and a live round was in the chamber. There was no safety on the gun.
The complaint indicates the gun owner called the church about 30 minutes after leaving the building, realizing she had left the gun. The woman was at the church for a bible study and allegedly told authorities she carries the gun on a clip in her waistband and took it off in the bathroom stall. Police say the woman was upset and indicated she could not believe she had done this.
Police say this all happened while there was a program going on for children in first through fifth grade. They would have had access to the bathroom the gun was found in.
Again — this case has now been dismissed, and the disorderly conduct charge has been dropped.