LISBON - A 3-year-old Wellsville boy was rummaging through his toy box on July 29 when an errant bullet from a drug-related shooting just missed him.
On Friday, the man responsible for pulling the trigger- Queysan L. Sallis - was sentenced to a maximum of five years in prison by Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge Scott Washam.
Sallis, 18, of Midland, Pa., previously pleaded guilty to one count of improper shooting of a firearm into a home and a second count of improper shooting of a firearm in or near a prohibited premise.
"Here we have another example of the connection between drugs and violence in our county," assistant county prosecutor Ryan Weikart told Washam at the sentencing hearing.
Weikart said Sallis and his cousin, Lamar T. Coles, were in Wellsville that evening because of a dispute over marijuana and money with someone who lives on 16th Street. Next door lives Jesse Jackson and his wife and three children.
The argument spilled out into the street when Sallis and Coles started to leave but changed their mind. This is when Sallis is believed to have fired three to five shots from a .25-caliber handgun in the direction of the home on 16th Street.
One of the wayward shots went through the dining room window at the Jackson residence, deflecting off the wall about two feet above a toy box. Weikart said the Jacksons' 3-year-old son was playing in the area when this occurred.
"If that shot had hit two feet lower we'd be talking about a different charge today," Weikart said.
One of the Jacksons' older children still has trouble sleeping alone in her room at night because of the shooting, he said.
"It's having a lasting effect on those children," Weikart said.
Following the shooting, Sallis and Coles fled to a friend's home on 14th Street and broke in. A girl who lived there called Wellsville police, and the pair were found hiding in an upstairs bedroom, while the handgun was located wrapped in a bag under some clothes in a plastic tote. This resulted in a burglary charge filed against Sallis, which was dropped by the prosecution as part of the plea deal. Meanwhile, Coles is scheduled to go on trial in January for burglary.
Prior to being sentenced, Sallis apologized for his actions, saying he has young nieces and nephews. "I pray for the family. I know I'm young and made a bad choice," he said, adding, "I'm sorry. I seriously are."
Weikart noted that Sallis had an extensive record as a juvenile and has been in trouble at the county jail since his arrest that night. He was given credit for 136 days already spent in jail.