A man has pleaded not guilty to charges after he allegedly shot himself in the stomach and then said another person did it, authorities said Monday.
Tyler Acosta, 25, was arrested Thursday and has been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, negligent discharge of a firearm resulting in injury and unlawful possession of ammunition, according to a Ventura County Sheriff’s Office news release.
In late April, deputies responded to a call from the Ojai Valley Hospital emergency room regarding a gunshot victim there, the release stated.
At the hospital, they found Acosta with a single gunshot wound to the abdomen.
He told them that he had been walking through a field near North Ventura Avenue and Crooked Palm Road in the City of Ventura when he was confronted by a transient who accused him of theft, authorities said. Acosta said the two men got into a physical fight, and then the other man produced a handgun and shot Acosta with it, according to the release.
However, “physical evidence obtained that night” and a further investigation of the incident all indicate that Acosta’s account is not entirely true, Sgt. Ron Chips said.
It appeared that Acosta actually shot himself in the abdomen, Chips said.
Over the course of their investigation, detectives found evidence indicating Acosta had been in unlawful possession of a handgun. Acosta was also convicted in 2013 of being a felon in unlawful possession of a firearm — a charge that prohibited him from legally possessing firearms and ammunition, according to the release.
Investigators believe that was why Acosta allegedly lied to authorities about having a handgun and shooting himself with it, according to Chips.
“He didn’t want to tell the true story,” Chips said.
Acosta was arrested Thursday at an apartment complex in the 300 block of West Vineyard Avenue in Oxnard. Officials found a fixed blade dagger as well as “a usable quantity of methamphetamine and prescription medication” in Acosta’s possession at the time of his arrest, according to the release.
He was booked into the Ventura County Jail and is being held on $100,000 bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for July 28.