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GREAT FALLS - A 30-year-old Liberty County man has been charged with attempted murder after the undersheriff was shot in the ear while responding to a report of a domestic dispute.

Josh Gwynn was charged in Justice Court on Monday and County Attorney Hugh Brown asked that bail be set at $2 million. Gwynn remained jailed.

Brown said Undersheriff Doug Riggin responded to a call from a ranch north of Chester at about 5 p.m. Saturday. When he arrived, he was told that Gwynn was in a farm shop.

The ranch owner's 16-year-old daughter escorted Riggin to the shop. Brown said when they walked in the door, they saw Gwynn pointing a small-caliber rifle first at the girl and then at Riggin.

Brown said Riggin pushed the girl out of the shop, a motion that also shifted him out of the way of the bullet fired at his head.

"He moved slightly and because he did, he took the bullet in his left ear instead of his head," Brown said Tuesday. "The undersheriff was very fortunate and so was the kid."

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The girl ran and hid and Riggin called for backup. Gwynn was arrested as he tried to drive off the ranch property.

The Division of Criminal Investigation is investigation the case. Brown said a neighboring county attorney will likely prosecute the case.

It took about 20 stitches to repair the damage to Riggin's ear and he was back at work the next day, Brown said.

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