Concealed carry class instructor Mark Montgomery was indicted for felony reckless homicide this past summer for the shooting death of a gun store owner in Clermont County, Ohio. A student he was instructing had a live weapon in a classroom environment and had a negligent discharge that went through the wall and hit the gun store owner, killing him.
Montgomery pleaded guilty in November, and was just given an unusual and entirely appropriate sentence.
Mark Montgomery, the firearms instructor who pleaded guilty to negligent homicide after a Monroe Township gun shop owner was killed, was sentenced Monday to five years of community control, 120 hours of community service and five days in jail.
This was the sentence handed down to Montgomery, 48, by Clermont County Common Pleas Judge Victor Haddad on Monday. Haddad took the unusual step of allowing all sides of the case one more opportunity to review the case for the sake of transparency.
“So many things happened that shouldn’t have happened in this case, Mr. Montgomery. There has to be something from this that everyone takes to make sure that it doesn’t happen to someone else,” Haddad said.
The judge specified that for the 120 hours of community service Montgomery will serve as a speaker, relative to “the mistakes made in this case,” at various agencies.
“The chief probation officer is aware of this,” Haddad said. “There are some agencies that we think will be glad to allow you to tell the story of the circumstances that led to the situation.”
The shooting occurred as students practiced weapon malfunction clearance drills in the classroom, an exercise that should only take place on the firing range. Montgomery’s failure in judgement was compounded by not clearing the room of live ammunition, and the entire situation went downhill from there.
Public speaking about the incident and the mistakes leading up to the shooting are indeed punishment for Montgomery, as he has to confess to his errors time and time again, admitting to rooms of strangers that his mistakes led to a man’s death.
More than punishment, however, the speaking engagements are a time for others to learn, so that they can avoid making similar mistakes. It’s about preventing future mishaps, and in educating others, perhaps Mr. Montgomery can take some solace in the thought that others may be able to avoid the mistakes that he did, and lives will be saved.