A Durango woman who fired a single gunshot inside Denny's Restaurant last year was sentenced Monday to two years in prison.Rachel Paige Miller, 24, cried at hearing the sentence.
District Judge Jeffrey Wilson said he wanted Miller to experience prison so she knows what will be awaiting her if she commits another serious crime.
He agreed to review her punishment in three to four months and possibly reduce it to allow Miller to finish her sentence at Hilltop House Community Corrections, which is in Durango.
In addition to prison time, Miller must serve five years on supervised probation.
The shooting occurred about 4:40 p.m. March 10, 2008, at Denny's, 666 Camino del Rio.
While sitting alone, Miller, 24, stood up and fired a .38 caliber handgun into the ceiling above the drink station at the center of the restaurant.
She then pointed the gun in the general direction of other patrons and demanded, "Everybody get the (expletive) out!" according to a police report.
She remained in the restaurant for about 35 minutes until Durango Police Sgt. Rita Warfield persuaded her to lay down the weapon and walk outside.
No one was injured. Miller, who suffers from a bipolar disorder, apparently was upset about personal matters.
She pleaded guilty in February to felony menacing and violation of a protection order. She was facing anything from probation to two years in prison after signing a plea agreement with the District Attorney's Office.
Before sentencing, Warfield expressed sympathy toward Miller, but she asked Wilson to send a message to the community that such behavior won't be tolerated.
"There was a lot of fear involved," Warfield said. "We feel very strongly that this could have ended much differently than it did."
Public defender Chris Trimble asked Wilson to give Miller probation, saying Miller has taken responsibility for her actions and has no prior criminal history. She also has a small child.
Miller apologized for her actions and asked for probation. She said she's not a violent person, and Hilltop House wouldn't do anybody any good.
"I'm so, so, so sorry," she said.
District Attorney Todd Risberg said the patrons have come to understand Miller was experiencing a psychological episode, but people can't behave that way.
"There were people running for their lives out the back door," he said.