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CODY - A Powell man is being held in the Park County jail on a felony charge of aggravated assault after an incident Saturday in which witnesses say he fired a gun and wounded a man during an argument.

Franklin Lee Miller, 57, made his initial appearance Monday in Circuit Court and was held pending a $200,000 cash bond.

An affidavit of probable cause filed by Powell police states that when Miller pointed a .45 caliber pistol at the ground and fired it, the bullet bounced off a paved surface and struck the left forearm of Christopher Downey.

The two men knew each other, and Miller is the ex-husband of Downey's wife. Downey said Miller had previously threatened him, the report states.

Downey, 38, was treated at Powell Valley Hospital and released, Powell Police Chief Tim Feathers said.

According to the report, Miller came to Downey's residence in the 400 block of South Clark Street and the two began arguing outside the home.

"Miller pulled a handgun out of his waistband and threatened to shoot Downey with it," the report states.

"Downey challenged Miller to shoot him if that is what Miller wanted to do. Miller pointed the handgun at Downey's head from approximately 10 feet away. Miller then dropped the weapon towards the ground and fired a shot into the asphalt," it states.

"Miller then put the handgun back into his pants and walked away" toward his nearby house, the report states.

Police called Miller at home around 7 p.m. Saturday, and he surrendered, Feathers said.

Miller said during his court appearance Monday that he had a prior conviction in Arizona stemming from domestic violence.

"I'm certainly not a detriment to the community. I moved up here to retire," Miller told Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters.

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Miller said he was a retired schoolteacher and not a flight risk.

Police have not recovered the gun they believe was used and are still searching for a Colt model 1911 .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, according to a statement issued by Feathers.

Police say the gun may have been discarded and could be loaded. If it is found, residents are cautioned not to disturb it and to contact Powell Police Investigator Dave Brown at 307-754-2211.

Brown and Feathers declined to comment in detail on the case. Brown said witnesses are still being interviewed and the incident remains under investigation.

Defendants are not required to enter a plea at an initial appearance. A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Monday in Circuit Court.

If convicted, Miller faces up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Contact Ruffin Prevost at rprevost@billingsgazette.com or 307-527-7250.

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