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Afton man allegedly blasted shotgun from inside home

An Afton man made his first court appearance this month on allegations that he recklessly shot off his shotgun inside city limits.

Stephen F. Mahley, 43, was charged in December with one count of reckless discharge of a firearm within a municipality - a felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

According to a criminal complaint:

Washington County sheriff's deputies were called to Mahley's residence at 3:28 a.m. Dec. 27 for a report of shots fired in the area of Oxbow Avenue and 45th Street.

Once deputies got in the area, they heard multiple shots and followed the sounds to an Oxbow Avenue residence, which is located inside Afton city limits.

Deputies first called the residence to determine who was shooting. A man who answered told dispatchers he was target shooting in the back yard, then hung up. With the aid of dispatchers, the man was instructed to go to the front door and meet with the deputies.

The man, identified as Mahley, was taken into custody while officers cleared the house.

Mahley, who authorities described as "extremely intoxicated," admitted to drinking and told the deputies he and a friend went to the residence and decided to do some target shooting. He said the friend fired a 12-gauge shotgun, destroying patio furniture at the residence.

Mahley also admitted to firing several shots.

"(Mahley) also stated that he and his friend split a bottle of an alcoholic beverage after firing the rounds," the complaint states.

The shooting had stopped about three hours earlier, Mahley told deputies - a claim that authorities said contradicted what they had heard. The deputies' log indicated the last rounds had been fired about 26 minutes prior to making contact with Mahley.

A search of the property turned up several firearms, ammunition and spent shell casings. The complaint states Mahley had discharged the firearms through an open sliding glass door from inside the office of the house. Patio furniture was also found destroyed by shotgun ammunition.

Mahley returns to court April 5.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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