By KIM SMITH DEDAM
---- — SARANAC LAKE — A man charged with assaulting his wife has entered a plea of not guilty.
Oleg Tchernytchenko is accused of shooting his wife in the hand Tuesday during a domestic argument. He was arraigned in Saranac Lake Village Court, charged with first-degree assault, a felony.
The couple’s three small children, all younger than 4, were present in the living room as the gun went off, police have said.
Tchernytchenko also faces three charges of endangering the welfare of a child.
Saranac Lake Police Chief Bruce Nason said the investigation was continuing.
The paperwork from police interviews was being forwarded to Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne.
But the assault charge could change as the evidence goes to prosecution.
“Other charges could be forthcoming,” Nason said Wednesday.
‘SAFETY WAS OFF’
The victim, whose name police did not release, was brought to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington for surgery on the gunshot wound.
A spokeswoman at Fletcher Allen said Wednesday that they did not have a patient with the last name Tchernytchenko.
Mr. Tchernytchenko, who police said pointed a loaded gun at his wife, was taken to Franklin County Jail; he remained there Wednesday on $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond.
Police said the woman reached to push the barrel away when the shotgun went off.
The safety was off, according to police reports.
The children were taken into care of Franklin County Child Protective Services after police could not find any relatives that live nearby.
Investigators also found 17 dogs in the home, which was unclean; some of the floors were covered with dog feces.
The animals were taken to the Tri-Lakes Humane Society for evaluation and housing.
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