IMAGE: Trevor Payne

A domestic situation during a Fourth of July gathering took a turn for the worse after a guest grabbed a gun and fired a single shot.

That guest is now facing charges as the victim struck by the gunfire continues to recover.

Family and friends claim the shooter was acting in defense of a woman being assaulted, but investigators aren’t convinced.

Trevor Payne, 21, was charged on July 8 with eight felonies including attempted murder. The charges stem from an incident in Vassar Township on July 4.

Payne claims he was defending his coworker who was being attacked by her husband in front of family and friends.

Police say Payne shot him in the head with a short handle shotgun. The man is now recovering from significant injuries at Covenant Hospital in Saginaw.

Prosecutors say the husband was not assaulting his wife at the moment the gun went off, something Payne’s attorney disputes.

“Information that we’ve received during this investigation, there was no active assault and battery occurring during the time his firearm was discharged,” the prosecutor said.

“Our investigation indicates that the real victim in this was the alleged victim, the wife who was being choked at the time that this gunshot went off,” said Jason Gower, Payne’s defense attorney.

Payne entered a plea of not guilty. His bond was originally set at $100,000. However, the prosecutor requested that number be increased to $250,000 due to what he believes was almost a homicide.

“What transpired is an individual took a loaded shotgun, a shot hand loaded shotgun, pointed it at another human being that was unarmed and discharged that at a person’s head at a very close range. This case obviously could’ve been and should’ve been a homicide,” the prosecutor said.

Payne’s defense attorney said he was acting in defense of his coworker and did not intend on killing anyone.

“His intent, his only intent, was to defend the life of another, not commit a murder,” Gower said.

Gower said he is very scared and remorseful, but at the time it was a split-second decision.

A probable cause hearing will be scheduled on July 17.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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