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Prosecutor explains why Fairfield woman was charged in husband’s shooting death

Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 @ 2:59 PM

Subha Katel is charged with negligent homicide in the death of her husband, Tika Katel, on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. Tika Katel was pronounced dead on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019.

A Fairfield woman has been charged with negligent homicide, a first-degree misdemeanor, in her husband’s shooting death because she was negligent in touching the weapon without knowing if it was real, said Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser.

Fairfield Police Sgt. Pete Lagemann said the department consulted with both the city prosecutor and the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office before filing a misdemeanor charge against Subha Katel in the shooting death of her husband, Tika, who was shot on Saturday and died on Monday.

Police say the fatal shooting happened when Subha was handling the gun of a cousin who was visiting in her home on Saturday and it fired, hitting Tika in the head.

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“There was a question in her mind and she chose to handle the object without knowing one way or another if it would go off,” Gmoser said. “She had a duty to find out before she touched the firearm.”

During the investigation, officers were told that just after 3 p.m. Saturday, Subha Katel, 43, saw a handgun holstered in the waistband of a cousin, Subash Katel, who was with other relatives visiting from Pennsylvania, according to Fairfield Municipal Court documents. They were in town to visit Tika’s mother, who is ill, according to court documents.

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Subash Katel was seated in the living room and “in a matter of seconds, Subha Katel saw the gun and grabbed the gun from the holster. As she was grabbing the gun … Subha Katel asked Subash Katel if the gun was a toy or real,” according to the court documents.

As Subha Katel asked if the gun was real, she allegedly pulled the trigger and fired the weapon, police said. Subha Katel said she was trying to hand the gun back to Subash Katel when it “went off,” and she was uncertain if she actually handed it back to her cousin or she dropped it.