WESTVILLE - A Westville man is facing multiple charges after law enforcement officials say he shot his wife in the buttocks with a .22 caliber rifle, threw the rifle into the Choctawhatchee River, and blamed the gunshot on people "shooting from a field" behind his home.

The Holmes County Sheriff's Office responded to Northwest Florida Community Hospital around 11 p.m. Thursday in reference to a female being treated for a gunshot she received at her Mt. Pleasant Road residence in Westville.

Alonzo Francis Stewart, 59, told officers he and the victim, Cindy Theresa Kirby, are married and that they were sitting outside when Kirby was shot "in the butt" by someone he "thought was named Leroy," an alleged person who "night hunts all the time in the back field."

According to reports, both Stewart and Kirby were intoxicated when interviewed by deputies.

Stewart, a convicted felon, would later admit to investigators that he had "fired a rifle several times" that evening. When deputies asked for the firearm so that they could remove it from the residence because it was there unlawfully, Stewart stated he "broke it" and threw it off the bridge in Caryville on the way to the hospital in Chipley.

Investigators state Stewart then began to cry, stating he loved Kirby and did not want her to be hurt but would not admit to shooting her, although Kirby had admitted to deputies that she had been accidentally shot by Stewart.

Stewart was arrested and charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, evidence destroying/tampering, and aggravated battery on a person using a deadly weapon.

Kirby is expected to make a full recovery.