A woman was accidentally Wednesday shot on State Street by her brother-in-law, who was showing her a gun he carried when it went off, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.

The complaint charged Francis K. Kimani, 44, of Middleton, with injury by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon for the incident, which happened about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 200 block of State Street as Kimani picked up his sister-in-law from a cleaning job, the complaint states.

Kimani, who was in jail since Wednesday, was released on a signature bond after a brief court appearance Friday. The charge is in Wisconsin’s lowest class of felonies, carrying up to 3½ years of combined prison and extended supervision.

Kimani’s sister-in-law, identified in a court document as Pauline W. Nganga, 41, told police at the scene she had gotten into Kimani’s vehicle and picked up his bag, described elsewhere in the complaint as a fanny pack, and noticed it was very heavy.

She said Kimani asked her if she wanted to see what was inside that was so heavy, the complaint states, and began to pull out what she said looked like a black handgun when the gun discharged.

A bullet struck Nganga in the upper left chest, the complaint states. The complaint states she would likely be discharged soon from UW Hospital.

According to the complaint:

At the scene, Kimani told police he had a gun in his pack and was trying to show it to a family member in the passenger seat when it went off. He told police he needed to go to the hospital with her.

Kimani told an officer that he said to Nganga, “You know, I carry guns, in my bags” and she said, “let me see.” As he moved the gun toward Nganga to show it to her the gun “went straight through her,” he said.

He said he had never fired a gun before.

Nganga later told a detective that as soon as she saw the gun she “just heard boom” as it went off and she then felt excruciating pain.

A passer-by who heard the shot and called 911 told police she saw the SUV’s passenger side window shatter. She said she heard the man in the driver’s seat shouting for help and asking that someone call 911. The woman in the passenger seat was also shouting to call 911.

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