This blog will focus on political images I have found all around the Internet, though I will intersperse some commentary and quotes that I find interesting.
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Up next: the week of April 9-15. A fairly typical week, by the numbers. Sixteen people accidentally shot themselves, eleven people were killed in gun accidents, nine kids were accidentally shot, six people accidentally fired guns they claimed they were cleaning or otherwise “inspecting,” four people were accidentally shot during their target practice (one more just couldn’t wait to get to the range, and was accidentally shot in the car on the way there), four people accidentally fired their weapons into neighboring properties (plus one more incident in which a passerby in golf cart was struck by a stray round), three people accidentally shot family members or significant others, and two people accidentally fired their weapons while shopping at neighborhood Walmart stores.
OK, that last item was a bit unusual. (But only a little bit.) We’ll get back to that in a moment. But first, some of the other, more unusual incidents of the week. First, a relatively well-publicized and tragic event from Forest Park, GA, in which a 13-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed himself while streaming his gunplay on Instagram Live. Second, an equally tragic incident from Fort Worth, TX—one which we’ve unfortunately seen more than a few times—in which a man shot and killed himself “while showing a friend how the safety on his gun worked.” I shouldn’t have to tell anyone that there are a million better ways to demonstrate how a gun’s safety works than by pointing it at your own or someone else’s head and pulling the trigger. Even pointing it at your own foot and pulling the trigger is better, though I would likewise counsel against it. But if you absolutely must demonstrate how a safety works, first, make sure you actually know how it works, and second, give yourself some margin for error if your demonstration really has to include pulling the trigger. Do your best to be sure the gun is pointed in a “safe” direction. One further reminder: if you’re in an apartment building, the units next door, or above and below you, do not count as “safe” directions. (See this week’s incident from Montebello, CA for further illustration of that point.)
One more safety tip, while we’re at it. Whether you’re an expert or a beginner taking classes to earn your concealed carry permit (in states where such training is even required), if you absolutely must spend additional time “practicing aiming [your] gun and pulling the trigger” but don’t have time to go all the way to the gun range to do it, one really great idea is to spend a moment making sure your weapon is not loaded. Also, if you’re going to practice both aiming and pulling the trigger, do not “aim” at your own leg. I do not know whether the person involved in this accident did, in fact, go on to earn her concealed carry permit. But I do know that it happened in Florida, so, you know, probably.
A few more final comments. One, just as a reminder of how convoluted stories that end in a GunFAIL can be, try making sense of the events of April 11th in Russellville, AR. None of what happened there makes much sense to me, except that the risk posed by adding a gun to that fact pattern seems extraordinary. That much seems obvious, even though I can’t make heads or tails out of the rest of it.
Next, the two accidental discharges inside Walmart stores illustrate some continuing problems with wider acceptance of citizens going about armed in daily life. The Conroe, TX incident illustrates how a moment of carelessness (or perhaps an entire gun-carrying life of carelessness that just happens to crystallize on one moment) can quickly spin way out of control. Luckily, not all the things that could have gone wrong in Conroe did go wrong. But someone made a very poor choice of carrying methods there, and dropped their weapon, leading to an accidental discharge inside the store. No one was hit, but at least one other shopper said of the incident, "It really freaked me out. For a second, I thought it was another mass shooting." I imagine that could cause some real problems in a place where a significant number of citizens are armed, and then suddenly become panicked and confused, then are perhaps further surprised to see several other armed strangers roaming the store with guns in hand. The second Walmart incident, in Sidney, OH, likewise leaves us with questions. It’s not entirely clear from reports whether this particular store location prohibits firearms on the premises, but most reports do make note of state’s new law, which “overrules private business owners from banning guns on their property as long as the person is a CCW license holder and locks the weapon in his or her personal vehicle.” That would be much more relevant if guns were prohibited in the store, and this gun owner brought his in, regardless. But it’s just not clear. Still, we can be pretty sure that discharging the weapon was a problem, since Sidney police confiscated it afterwards. Yet another gun carried for “safety” that instead ended up endangering everyone nearby.
Lastly, there’s this week’s title story, from Crawford County, KS. I don’t think it needs any explaining, other than to point out that though hunters and others are fairly often mistaken for game and shot, this is a particular danger in turkey hunting. Apparently, turkey hunters don’t wear blaze orange gear, and further, they appear from the reports to do more to disguise themselves as turkeys to lure game than the hunters of other species do. I think the results are somewhat predictable, but you may disagree. I’ve never heard of anyone accidentally shot while buying one of the turkeys widely available in stores, but I suppose both that some people like a challenge, and perhaps we just haven’t waited long enough, yet.
FOUNTAIN, CO, 4/09/17: Neighbors repeatedly described the people living in the Fountain home where a young girl was shot in the head Sunday as "a nice family." All the children played together on the "quiet" and "close" block of Progress Drive, they said, some declining to be named. Brittney Frost, who lives across the street, said she took her 4-year-old daughter over to the couple's home to play around Halloween when the family turned their garage into a haunted house for children. "They had a cauldron of candy and were great with the kids in a potentially scary situation," Frost said. But parents said they were shaken after one of the couple's children, their oldest daughter, 6, was shot in the head Sunday in what Fountain police are calling an accidental shooting. The child was in critical but stable condition Monday following surgery, Fountain police said. The shooting happened about 5 PM at 782 Progress Drive. One neighbor said the girl's parents tried to drive her to the hospital themselves but found an ambulance along the way. No details are being released while police continue to investigate, according to Sgt. Dean Gilbertsen. He also declined to say whether they will recommend charges in the shooting. No charges had been filed as of Monday. "We will release more information as we can," Gilbertsen said.
ORTING, WA, 4/09/17: An Orting-area man escaped serious injury Sunday night when he shot himself in the hand while clearing his gun, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. Medics and deputies responded a little after 9:30 PM to the 14900 block of 147th Street Court East, just north of Orting, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said. The man was talking with medics and explained what happened, Troyer said, and is expected to be OK.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN, 4/09/17: Indianapolis Metropolitan police are investigating a fatal shooting on the west side of Indianapolis that police are calling accidental. Officers were called to the 2300 block of Raceway Road on the west side around 7:15 PM Sunday. Police say there was a party or gathering at the residence. Officers arrived to find a 24-year-old woman who'd been shot. She succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. The circumstances surrounding the shooting remain under investigation. "We’re trying to figure out exactly where the gun came from, who’s involved, who owned the gun. All of those items and all of those pieces of information will come to surface through the investigation," said Officer Aaron Hamer with IMPD. Police said officers were called to the home in response to disturbances before the shooting occurred. Police believe a 17-year-old shot and killed the woman on accident. The case remains under investigation and the Marion County Prosecutor's Office will decide if the teen will face charges.
CHATTANOOGA, TN, 4/09/17: UPDATE: On Tuesday morning, Chattanooga Police announced that the 13-year-old died from his injuries Tuesday evening. Funeral arrangements have not been announced. Police say the investigation continues.ORIGINAL STORY: A 16-year old called 911 pleading for help, after his brother was accidentally shot in the head. Police say the teen is now in critical, but stable condition at Enlarger. Monday, NewsChannel 9 got a copy of the brother's call for help. In the tape, he describes his brother's heavy breathing and the wound he says is near the 13-year-old's ear. On the other side of the wall from where the call was made, Kendasia Lawrence said her family didn't hear any gunshots. Police arrived at her duplex shortly after her kids came inside for the evening. "My sons and nephews were just out there playing with the little boy," she said. At the end of 911 call recording, the caller has a conversation about the gun with one of the first responders in the house. He told him, "We found it and we were just playing with it and then it went off." The Safe Tennessee Project tracks unintentional shootings. Sunday's makes 6 this year in the state. Director Beth Joslin Roth says this case is unique because the boys say they found the gun somewhere outside the home. "That's rare," she said. "What we see much more often is the scenario where a child picks up a loaded gun that is not stored properly in a home or a vehicle and fires it." Still, she says every accidental shooting involving a child is the result of an adult being irresponsible with a gun. "That's even the case in this scenario," Roth said. "We can assume that it was probably perhaps a criminal that threw a gun out of a car or something." Police are working to figure out exactly where the boys found the gun and to determine if it was used in other crimes. Police telll us they are waiting to talk to the injured teen to corroborate what he says happened leading up to the shooting. Safe Tennessee Project says this situation highlights the need for parents should talk to their kids about gun safety, even if they don't have a firearm in the house.
ROCKWELL, NC, 4/09/17: An 89-year-old woman was grazed by a stray bullet, but not injured, while riding in a golf cart beside her son, Rowan County officials said. Officials are continuing to investigate the Sunday incident. The Rowan County Sheriff’s Department says four people were target shooting at a home at 1485 Cannon St. about 4:15 PM Sunday. At the same time, Etta Poole was riding in a golf cart with her son, Karry Broadway, in a wooded area near Lower Stone Church Road. The bullet went through the back of the seat, grazed Poole on the back and fell to the floor of the golf cart. Poole was cut and was treated by Rowan County emergency responders at the scene. She was not taken to a hospital. Broadway spoke with the people who were shooting to let them know that he had contacted law enforcement, reports said. Officials said alcohol was not involved in the incident. All four people who had been target shooting stayed on the scene until deputies arrived and were cooperative, the said. No charges have been filed.
MACON, GA, 4/09/17: A young man was shot in the arm the other night while he and two friends were smoking marijuana at a mobile home park in south Bibb County, authorities said. Jonathon Moore, whose right arm was struck by a bullet from a .38-caliber revolver, was already at the Houston Medical Center in Warner Robins when Bibb sheriff’s investigators learned of the shooting. The shooting happened just after 10 PM while Moore, 24, and two other men were at North Park Manor trailer park two miles north of the Houston County line, across Ga. 247 from Middle Georgia Regional Airport. One of the men there, Alec Troutman, 19, of Warner Robins, told the police that he had pulled his .38-caliber pistol to show it to Moore, who wanted to see it, a sheriff’s report said. “Mr. Troutman stated that as he went to hand the revolver to Mr. Moore, the hammer engaged causing it to shoot a round into Mr. Moore’s arm,” the report noted. Troutman told investigators that he and another guy rushed Moore to the hospital. According to the report, Moore explained that he and his friends were “smoking marijuana and he wanted to see the gun Mr. Troutman had with him,” and that after he was shot “he began to black out and that’s when his friends” took him to the hospital. Moore said the shooting was “an accident” and, the report added, the other guys “are like brothers to him.” No charges were filed.
BIRMINGHAM, AL, 4/09/17: A four-year-old child is getting emergency medical treatment right now, after being shot. It happened just after 4:00 PM in the 4700 block of 13th Avenue North in Birmingham. The Birmingham Police Department says two children were playing in a pickup truck, which had a loaded gun inside. One child picked up the gun, and it fired, striking the four-year-old. The victim is a boy, and he was sent to Children's Hospital for treatment. The Birmingham Police says the child has life-threatening injuries, but he is in stable condition. Three adults have been detained for questioning. UPDATE: Birmingham police say no charges are expected after a 3-year-old accidentally shot a 4-year-old while playing with a gun found inside a truck. The 4-year-old, who suffered organ damage, is in stable condition after undergoing surgery Sunday. "He still has a long road to recovery," Birmingham Police Lt. Sean Edwards said.
CITRONELLE, AL, 4/10/17: The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting which occurred in the 16000 block of Bud Odom Rd in Citronelle. Officials say at approximately 1:45 AM, a female homeowner shot an acquaintance after mistaking him for a burglar after he entered the residence unannounced. The 35-year-old man remains in a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. They say this appears to be an accidental shooting.
FOREST PARK, GA, 4/10/17: A week after a teen’s accidental shooting death was streamed onto Instagram, Forest Park police arrested a juvenile they said gave the 13-year-old the gun. Officials say Malachi Nasi Hemphill of Forest Park, accidentally shot himself April 10 at his home on Pineridge Court, Maj. Chris Matson said. Hemphill’s mother, Shaniqua Stephens, said she heard a loud bang, went upstairs and found her son shot, Channel 2 Action News reported. Hemphill’s camera phone was recording onto Instagram Live at the time. Authorities have not released the name of the juvenile accused of giving Hemphill the 9mm semi-automatic pistol and said he was charged with “numerous offences.” Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal offered to pay for Hemphill’s funeral and said he sympathized with the boy’s mom. "No mother should have to go through this,” O’Neal said in a statement. “I can only imagine the pain that she and all of Malachi’s family must be feeling. I just wanted to do what I could to help them at such a terrible time." No details on the funeral have been released.
SANDY SPRINGS, GA, 4/10/17: The child of a Clayton County police officer fired the cop's service weapon inside a parking garage last week in Sandy Springs. An officer with the Sandy Springs Police Department responded to discharge of a firearm call at 1 Glenlake Parkway around 7:41 AM Monday, April 10. The officer arrived and spoke with Clayton County officer Welkind Saint-Jean, who recounted the incident to authorities. Saint-Jean, a 30-year-old Riverdale resident, said he arrived at the parking garage with his son, the incident report released by Sandy Springs police said. Saint-Jean parked his vehicle, and his son got out of his car seat and climbed into the front passenger seat. While the officer was exiting the vehicle, "his son accessed the glove compartment and retrieved his service weapon," the incident report released by the department states. "His son was able to remove the gun from the holster and fire the weapon," the officer wrote. The bullet went through the front windshield and "made contact" with the roof of the garage, which is made of concrete. Bullet fragments were also found lying next to the right side of the vehicle and a shell casing was discovered on the front passenger seat. The child, who had a small bruise on his right cheek, did not need any medical attention. Clayton County police detectives and the deputy chief also responded to the scene. The incident remains under investigation. Clayton County police spokesperson Sgt. Ashanti Marbury said the agency is "examining" the incident, and will require Saint-Jean to undergo additional training on safely securing his weapon.
ORANGE CO., FL, 4/10/17: Orange County deputy sheriffs say a 15-year-old girl was accidentally shot after a drug deal, not while she and her friends were on their way to buy doughnuts, as originally thought, according to a report released Monday. Ramsys Cruz Abreu, 22, was arrested on charges of manslaughter, failure to report a death and possession of cannabis. Deputies say he supplied a gun to a 16-year-old girl who killed Melanie Mesen Medina. According to deputies, Cruz Abreu drove the girls to sell marijuana the night of April 10. A sheriff’s report originally said they were going to Krispy Kreme, with the 16-year-old in the back seat and Melanie in the front. After the drug deal, Cruz Abreu was counting his money and told the 16-year-old to get a gun out of a case because he was scared of getting robbed, deputies said. According to the report, he told the girl to “shoot if anyone tried to do so.” The girl took the gun out of the case and put it on her lap. When she was moving the gun case out of the way, the gun fell. She reached for it and accidentally pulled the trigger, hitting her friend in the neck and killing her, according to deputies. They drove to Ziegler Road near Orange Blossom Trail and dumped her body, where it was found the next morning, deputies say. Deputies said it was “culpable negligence” for Cruz Abreu to give the girl a gun. “Ramsys Cruz Abreu engaged in a course of conduct that showed a reckless disregard for human life,” the report states. “These actions by Ramsys Cruz Abreu set in motion the course of events that led to the death of Melanie Medina.” Deputies received a Crimeline tip that led to Cruz Abreu’s arrest April 13 as he drove away from a home on Cypress Woods Drive, near Kirkman and Conroy roads. Melanie had been an eighth-grader at Corner Lake Middle School before her parents withdrew her days before her death, Orange County Public Schools officials said. A Crimeline tip led deputies to Cruz Abreu. He was initially arrested April 13 and charged with accessory after the fact to first-degree felony, but the charge was dropped after detectives ruled the shooting accidental. He admitted to dumping Melanie’s body, deputies said. The 16-year-old will not be charged because the facts of the case “clearly indicate the shooting was accidental and not intentional,” deputies wrote. Melanie was living with Cruz Abreu after getting kicked out of her house by her mother.
PALM BAY, FL, 4/10/17: A 69-year-old Vero Beach man who was shot and injured by a malfunctioning gun at a gun range Monday afternoon was treated and released from a hospital, officials said. Palm Bay police said the firearm accident happened at the Port Malabar Rifle and Pistol Club, 610 Hurley Blvd. S.W. Martin Byrnes was setting down a gun when it fired several times, police Lt. Mike Bandish said. One of the bullets struck Byrnes in the shoulder, he said. Byrnes was flown to Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne and released Tuesday, police said.
CASTLE ROCK, CO, 4/10/17: A man shot himself in the hand April 10 while inspecting his gun at his home in the 5600 block of East Melody Way, Castle Rock. He was in bed after dinner inspecting his pistol but forgot to clear the chamber. It went off. His wife took him to the hospital. No one else was hurt. He was ticketed for discharging a gun in city limits.
FORT WORTH, TX, 4/10/17: A male died Monday in south Fort Worth after reportedly shooting himself in the head while showing a friend how the safety on his gun worked. Officers were dispatched about 5 PM to a home in the 4800 block of Madyson Ridge Drive, according to a police report. A 911 caller at the home reported that his friend was holding the gun to his own head when he pulled the trigger and it discharged, said officer Jimmy Pollozani, police spokesman. Detectives were still investigating Monday night and could not confirm the 911 caller’s account. The victim, whose name and age had not been released, died at the home, Pollozani said.
CONROE, TX, 4/11/17: The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office is investigating an accidental shooting inside a Walmart in The Woodlands. A single shot was fired in the store at 3040 College Park sometime between 10 and 11 AM. No one was hurt. Police say the bullet hit a light fixture. Customers described hearing the gunshot. "I don't know if it hit the ground or not, but it slipped and it banged and it went off. It was a good, loud noise," James McGowan said. "It scared me like crazy, and I have a little baby. I was just thankful she was in the car with her grandma and wasn't in the store with us," Kiki McGowan said. "It really freaked me out. For a second, I thought it was another mass shooting." Authorities describe the situation as an accidental discharge of a gun, but the circumstances surrounding it are not yet known. The scene remains under investigation.
SHERMAN, TX, 4/11/17: Police said a man was arrested Tuesday after he accidently fired a shotgun into a woman's apartment. Kawa Faraj was booked into jail for deadly conduct by discharging a firearm. Police were called at 5 AM Tuesday to Ridgeview Apartments where a woman told them she thought someone had broken into her residence. Investigators say she had not been burglarized, but during the investigation found a bullet hole in her wall. Police said after that, Faraj, her neighbor, admitted to police that he accidently shot his gun toward her unit. No one was hurt.
MOORE, OK, 4/11/17: UPDATE 5:15 PM—According to Moore police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis, after detectives spoke with witnesses, it was determined that the shooting was a result of an accidental discharge. He said the bullet went through a wall and struck the woman who was in another room. ORIGINAL—According to Moore police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis, a woman was admitted into an emergency room at a hospital in Moore today suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. Lewis said the shooting occurred at a home in the 2600 Block of N. Nottingham Way in Moore. Lewis said Moore police detectives are on the scene interviewing witnesses. The woman's injuries were reported to not be life-threatening.
MANDAN, ND, 4/11/17: A 61-year-old Mandan man accidentally fired his gun, sending a bullet on an adventure through his neighbor's trailer on Tuesday afternoon. The .44 magnum handgun discharged while the man was cleaning it in his trailer on the 200 block of Ninth Avenue Southeast around 3 PM, according to Mandan Police. The bullet traveled out his window, through the neighbor's window, blinds, television, front door and BBQ grill propane tank, before finally coming to a rest in the grill, police said. No one was home at the neighbor's house, and no one was injured. The case has been forwarded to the Morton County State's Attorney for potential charges. No one has been arrested.
BEAVERTON, OR, 4/11/17: A man who claimed he was shot leaving his Beaverton apartment Tuesday night actually shot himself, police said. The man, who was not identified, suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound and was taken to a hospital. Initially, Beaverton police believed he had been shot by someone he knew. After about an hour and a half, they determined the truth. Their emailed update to reporters said, simply: "SELF INFLICTED GUNSHOT WOUND. STORY WAS MADE UP BY THE SUBJECT." The shooting was reported shortly before 8:30 PM at the 12000 block of Longhorn Lane, near Southridge High School.
RUSSELLVILLE, AR, 4/11/17: Christopher Lynn Baird, 25 of Russellville, appeared in a felony bond hearing before District Court Judge Don Bourne on Wednesday, April 12, following his arrest by the Russellville Police Department. According to the report, on Tuesday, April 11, at approximately 7:30 PM, RPD officers responded to Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center in reference to a patient who had sustained a gunshot wound. Upon the arrival of officers, they made contact with the emergency room staff who advised that police the victim, Robby Brooks, had been dropped off at the emergency room doors by an unknown person who had left the scene. The officers were advised that Brooks had been shot through the top of his left hand and into his left thigh. After obtaining the information, officers spoke to Brooks who stated an unknown person shot him. Brooks advised that he was walking home to an address on East Gum Street from the Super 8 Motel after seeing a friend, and as he reached the area of East Gum Street near Highway 7 North, an unknown man in an unknown vehicle shot him. Brooks said he didn't see anything because he had his head down looking at his phone. A few minutes later, Brooks told police that he was picked up by an unknown male driving an unknown vehicle and he was taken to the emergency room. Additional RPD officers made contact with Brooks' mother at her residence located on East Gum Street. Brooks' mother told the officers that her son took her motorized scooter earlier in the day and had not returned. Brooks' mother also stated that the last time she talked to her son, he had advised her that he was at the Super 8 motel. Officers at the emergency room were advised of the information Brooks' mother had shared with them and then they asked Brooks where his mom's scooter was. Brooks told the officers that he had parked the scooter in Chris Baird's driveway and although he didn't know the address, he stated that Baird's house was located west of his mother's house. Brooks said that his mother would know where Baird's house is. Officers on East Gum Street located Baird's house and as they arrived at the residence they located a scooter parked behind a trailer in the driveway. The officers also observed several blood droplets on the driveway, coming from the door. After attempting to make contact with someone inside the residence, their attempts were unsuccessful. At that time, officers taped off the area surrounding the home and a crime scene was set up. Officers on East Gum Street kept the Crime Scene secured until a search warrant could be obtained and executed. The officers also contacted a RPD Sergeant and updated him about the situation. After receiving the update, the sergeant responded to the emergency room at Saint Mary's and made contact with Brooks. While speaking to the sergeant, Brooks told him a different story than what he had reported to the first arriving officers. Brooks advised that he rode his mother scooter to Chris Baird's house, then walked to the Super 8 motel. When he arrived back at Baird's residence, Brooks advised that he went into Baird's room and they were accompanied by an unknown Hispanic male. Brooks said when he entered Baird's room, he saw a black "Glock" style semi-automatic handgun that was laying on the bed. The Hispanic male picked the handgun to look at it and he accidentally shot him. Brooks continued to state that the man then put him in a green car, drove him to the emergency room and dropped him off. Officers on East Gum Street continued to keep the Crime scene secure, but at approximately 1 AM, while an officer was holding the back of the residence, he saw someone opening the back door very slowly. The officer reported that when he could see the man's face, he ordered him out of the house and to lay on the ground where he could see his hands. The man was then identified as Chris Baird's father. The officer asked him if anyone else was in the house and he stated Chris was. After officers ordered Chris Baird out of the house, both father and son were transported to the Russellville Police Department where they were questioned. Baird corroborated Brooks' story, and told police the Hispanic man, Carlos, lived near University and East O Street. Officers began to patrol the area in search of the Hispanic subject's car and at approximately 3 AM, officers located the car that was described to be a light green 2008 Nissan Sentra. Upon locating the vehicle, the officer looked inside and noticed a blue hat matching the description of the hat Brooks had been wearing sitting in the passenger seat. The officer also noticed a spot on the seat that appeared to be blood. The car was then towed and taken in as evidence. After confirming the Nissan Sentra was the car that Carlos was driving, Baird was transported to the Pope County Detention Center and a felony hold was placed on him for Possession of a Firearm by Certain Persons.
STOCKBRIDGE, GA, 4/11/17: A 9-year-old girl and her father were injured in an apparent accidental shooting overnight in Stockbridge. Henry County police said the father was cleaning his weapon inside a home in the 100 block of Bob White Drive. The gun went off with a single bullet, striking both the father and his daughter. The girl was hit in the leg, and the man was struck in the hand. Paramedics rushed both victims to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
WEST PALM BEACH, FL, 4/12/17:A woman in the 11400 block of 63rd Lane North was practicing aiming her gun and pulling the trigger when the gun discharged, hitting her in the right leg. She told the deputy who came to the scene that she is taking firearms classes to get her concealed weapons permit. The woman was taken to the hospital for treatment.
OAKLAND, CA, 4/12/17: An 18-year-old man who admitted to police he was playing with a gun before it went off Wednesday morning, killing a sleeping 17-year-old Sacramento boy, was charged Friday with involuntary manslaughter, authorities said. Besides the manslaughter count, Marco Palma Cruz was also charged with felony discharge of a firearm with gross negligence. He is accused of killing Luis Urquidez, a friend of his, who was visiting him at his home in the 800 block of East 18th Street. According to court documents, Palma Cruz has admitted to police he was playing with a semi-automatic pistol about 7:14 AM Wednesday when the gun went off and a bullet hit a sleeping Urquidez. He said it was an accident. The boy died at 11:40 AM at a hospital. Palma Cruz and other people at the home initially gave conflicting accounts to police about what happened and someone took the gun from the house. But after extensive questioning, homicide investigators eventually were able to determine what happened and Palma Cruz admitted his involvement. The gun was also recovered.
MONTEBELLO, CA, 4/12/17: A teenage girl remained hospitalized in critical condition on Friday, two days after she was shot by her neighbor in what was believed to be an accidental shooting at an apartment complex, police said. The suspected accidental shooting took place shorty after 4 PM on Wednesday in the 200 block of North 6th Street, Montebello police Lt. Larry Jackson said. Police responded to reports of a shooting and encountered a teenage girl suffering from a gunshot wound, he said. “Preliminary investigation revealed the neighbor was manipulating a firearm in his apartment,” the lieutenant said. The handgun went off, sending a bullet through the wall separating the apartments, and striking the girl in the abdomen. Rescuers took the wounded teen to a hospital, where she was listed in critical condition after undergoing emergency surgery, Jackson said. The neighbor, a man, was not arrested as the investigation continued, he said. The man attempted to help the injured girl and called 911 immediately after the shooting. Once complete, detectives will turn over their findings to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for consideration of charges.
CRAWFORD CO., KS, 4/12/17: Authorities say a hunter accidentally shot his brother and a friend after mistaking them for wild turkeys in southeast Kansas. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism says the victims were shot in face and body on April 12. Crawford County Sheriff Dean Peak says the shooting was ruled an accident. Peak says the victims were hit by shotgun pellets and are expected to survive. The victims are at the University of Arkansas Medical Center in Fayetteville, which isn't releasing their conditions. The wildlife department's game warden, Jim Bussone, tells the Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/2onxtJE ) the three men were hiding behind preserved turkey tail fans, which are used to disguise hunters, but ended up hunting each other while making turkey calls to lure the animals. Bussone says the shooter broke several hunting safety rules, including shooting at movement.
OMAHA, NE, 4/12/17: A 42-year old man accidentally shot himself near 95th Circle and West Center Road on Wednesday afternoon. The man’s wounds were not life-threatening. But, police said, he was a convicted felon—and that means it was illegal for him to possess the semiautomatic handgun he was carrying. Officers responded to a report of a shooting at 2:45 PM, said Lt. Kyle Steffen of the Omaha Police Department and found the man. He was suffering from a gunshot wound to his “lower extremities,” Steffen said, though he appeared to have walked a few blocks from where he had been struck. He initially provided little information to police, but later admitted to officers he had shot himself. Police eventually located the weapon.
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ, 4/13/17: An Illinois man was arrested after his gun went off and wounded a friend in a casino parking garage, police said. Atlantic City Police learned of the shooting when the victim, Kevin Neeld, 19, of Hamilton Township sought medical care for a gunshot wound at the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Galloway Township on Thursday. Police say that Neeld and a friend, Joseph Crouch, 20, of Alton, Ill., were in a vehicle on the top floor of the parking garage at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino when Crouch pulled out a handgun, accidentally discharged the weapon and struck Neeld. As Neeld was being driven to the hospital, police day, Crouch allegedly threw the gun out of the vehicle in the garage, authorities said. The gun was later recovered by Tropicana security and turned over to police. Neeld was listed in critical condition, police said. The did not say in what part of his body he was shot. Crouch was charged with aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. He was being held at the Atlantic County Justice Facility. The two men were described by police as friends.
HAZEL GREEN, AL, 4/13/17: The cause of a Madison County man’s death has been ruled an accidental shooting, the sheriff’s office announced today. William Burton Vickers, 56, of Hazel Green, was found dead Thursday after sustaining an accidental gunshot wound to the abdomen, Madison County sheriff’s Capt. Michael Salomonsky said. Investigators found Vickers at his home on the 100 block of Atwilder Drive around 9:30 AM. The sheriff’s office began investigating because the circumstances of Vickers’ death were “odd,” Salomonsky said at the time. Vickers’ body was taken to the Department of Forensic Sciences lab in Huntsville for an autopsy. Based on evidence and witness statements, investigators determined Vickers shot himself in the lower abdomen, Salomonsky said. Vickers’ funeral services were held this past weekend. Additional details haven’t been released.
SHELL POINT, SC, 4/13/17: A Shell Point man wanted to clean his gun Thursday evening, so he pulled the .22-caliber pistol from the top of his bedroom dresser. The gun slipped from his hands. He reached down and tried to snag it before it hit the ground. He missed. The pistol hit the floor, “the gun went off and shot his hand,” according to a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office report released Friday. The man told police he had no idea he was shot until a few moments later when “he saw blood coming from his hand,” the report said. While all that was happening, a woman was in the kitchen cooking crabs. She reported to deputies that she heard the gunshot but “did not think much of it.” A relative drove the injured man to Beaufort Memorial Hospital where he was interviewed by deputies, according to the report. Deputies searched the man’s room but found no sign of the gun.
BRADENTON, FL, 4/13/17: An accidental shooting that caused injuries was reported in Manatee County Thursday afternoon. The incident occurred at 5200 14th Street West in Bradenton. Amaris Peralta, 26, and Jimmy Hernandez-Pantojo, 19, were driving in her vehicle in Bradenton to go shoot their firearms. As Hernandez-Pantojo was handling the firearm, he dropped it in his lap, causing it to discharge the loaded bullet. It struck Peralta in the left side. They drove to the hospital to seek treatment for the non-life threatening injury. The investigation is ongoing.
GRANTS, NM, 4/13/17: A Grants city councilman is dead after what appears to be a shooting accident during target practice. The Cibola County Sheriff says 64-year-old Eddie Dickens was out shooting off Lobo Canyon Road Thursday afternoon. They say when he didn’t come home, Dickens’ family went looking for him. They found him with a single gunshot wound to the chest. “We really feel for his wife Shirley and his boys,” said Jose Rodriguez. People in Grants are still learning the tragic news the beloved councilor passed away. “I was flabbergasted, it just about threw me,” said Rodriguez, who’s lived one house down from Dickens for many years. He said Eddie Dickens would walk past his home everyday with his dog, to the park at the end of the street. “If somebody was gone from the house and it was garbage collection day or you know he’d go out there and put the garbage cans out for them,” said Rodriguez. Cibola County Sheriff, Tony Mace, said this is devastating. “It’s a devastating event for our community. Mr. Dickens was active in the high school, a great teacher the kids talked about him a lot,” said Tony Mace. He said when his investigators arrived to the scene on Lobo Canyon Road, they found a new box of ammo, four bullets missing from the box and three shots in the target, his cleaning kit was also nearby. Mace said they believe the gun malfunctioned. “Maybe tried to clear that malfunction and somehow the weapon discharged, striking him in the chest,” said Mace. Deputies say they found Dickens’ gun in pieces. Those who knew Dickens say it’s a tragedy and they’re thinking of his family. He leaves behind a wife, two sons and six grandchildren. Funeral arraignments have not yet been announced.
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, 4/13/17: A man is facing charges after he accidentally shot himself and then lied to officers about how the injury happened, according to police. Police said around 2:30 PM Thursday, they got a call about a man who had been hospitalized with a gunshot wound to his leg. The man, 18-year-old Phillip Terry, told police he was walking near downtown when a dark sedan drove by and someone inside fired a shot at him. Police examined the injury and determined it was unlikely he had been shot as he described. They investigated and determined Terry was playing with a handgun when it accidentally fired, shooting him in the leg. Terry was charged with prohibited use of weapons and false reporting, according to police.
KATY, TX, 4/13/17: A young boy has been killed in what authorities believe to be an accidental shooting in west Harris County. The shooting happened at a home in the 21300 block of Finbury Oaks Lane. According to officials at the scene with the Harris County Sheriff's Office, an 11-year-old boy was playing with a gun when he was fatally shot. The boy was home alone at the time, and his parents returned home and found him, authorities said. An investigation is underway. The case will go to a grand jury to determine if the parents could face charges.
LUBBOCK, TX, 4/13/17: A Lubbock juvenile is being held at the Lubbock County Juvenile Justice Center on charges of aggravated assault after a gun he was cleaning went off, shooting another juvenile in the leg. It happened around 7:45 PM in the 3200 block of 33rd Street on Thursday. The victim told police he was at his friend's house playing video games while his friend was cleaning a gun. The victim told police his friend did not realize there was a bullet in the chamber. The gun went off and shot the victim in the leg. His friend and his friend's mother took the victim to the hospital where he was treated and released. The juvenile initially told police he found the gun in an alleyway without a magazine and thought it was not loaded. He then told police he bought the gun from a friend, according to the police report. He told police he was "playing around" with the gun and it accidentally went off. The juvenile was placed under arrest and the victim was released from the hospital.
BAYTOWN, TX, 4/14/17: A shooting thought to have occurred near a dollar store on North Main Street Friday turned out to be an accidental shooting in another location. According to the Baytown Police, two friends and the victim, a 24-year-old Baytown man, were at a residence on Ft. Worth Street smoking marijuana and playing with a .22 caliber rifle when one of the friends accidently shot the victim.
BROWNWOOD, TX, 4/14/17: A Brownwood man told police he was the victim of a drive-by shooting last week, but police believe the man accidentally shot himself—and the man may be charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, Brownwood Assistant Police Chief James Fuller said. The 22-year-old man was shot in his right hip area Friday afternoon and was not seriously injured, Fuller said. According to a report by Cpl. Zane Taylor: Taylor responded to a weapons offense at 5:54 PM in the 1600 block of Waco and arrived to see a man he knew lying on a driveway. Two neighbors were standing near the man, who was calm and did not show signs of distress unless there was movement involving his right hip area. The man told Taylor he was walking along Belle Plain going east when when a westbound pickup drove by, and a male shot him from the passenger window. The man said he was across the street from the Bostick’s auto dealer and the pickup was traveling in the outside lane toward the lake. Taylor told the man his story didn’t make sense because the passenger side of the vehicle would be on the other side of the road from him. The man quickly responded that he was just walking down the street and did not actually see the shooting, but heard it and then looked up. The man said he actually has a lot of enemies and did not know who it might have been. The man’s shirt had burnt black residue and a hole in the same area where he had been shot. Officers located a couple of picatinny type rails which are commonly used on firearms so other accessories can be attached. Officers also located eight .22 caliber rifle shells in one of the man’s pockets. Lifeguard Ambulance transported the man to Brownwood Regional Medical Center.
PUEBLO, CO, 4/14/17: A Pueblo police officer who fired at a dog he believed was attacking him accidentally grazed a rookie who was among officers responding to a call from the pit bull’s owners, according to a police report. The incident began early April 14 when Leslie Hanson, 39, owner of the 2-year-old dog named Crios and her boyfriend heard a noise at the rear of their home. They thought someone was trying to break in. Her boyfriend walked out of the home. Hanson grabbed her gun, followed him outside, called 911, and reported an attempted break-in, she said Thursday. They saw her neighbor’s son, who had fallen onto a trash can before a gate fell on top of him. He “was high on something,” Hanson said, and she put the gun away as he flailed around. She then told the 911 operator she was going to put the phone down and help her boyfriend with the neighbor, identified as David Martinez, 32, in the police report. Martinez was incoherent and appeared to be trying to “get at his mother,” who had come out of her house with her husband. Officer Seth Jensen, who wrote the report, and another officer, got him under control and were taking him to a patrol car, when two other officers, identified as Officer Diaz and Recruit Officer Steffani, arrived. As Diaz and Steffani arrived, the report said, a large, gray pit bull “ran out of the residence. … As the dog exited the house, it began growling aggressively and then attempted to attack Officer Diaz.” Hanson said the dog had gotten through a dog gate and through a door into her yard on Cypress Street but was walking, looking for her and not acting aggressively. According to the report, Diaz backpeddled, drew his pistol, and fired seven rounds at the dog. The dog collapsed in front of a nearby home. Jensen noticed that Steffani was limping and asked if he had been shot. Steffani answered that he might have been grazed by a bullet. He was taken to a hospital and treated for a slight burn mark, the report said. Hanson said she has post-traumatic-stress disorder and that Crios was a service dog. “He was not running; he was walking. I didn’t hear him growl or bark. I’m not saying that he didn’t. I’m not saying that I don’t agree that dogs are sometimes aggressive. The officer could have used pepper spray, Tazed him, shot him once. It would have been OK.” But firing seven shots at the dog, was “not OK.” A veterinarian later euthanized Crios. Police called the incident unfortunate in a statement posted on the department’s Facebook page. “The Pueblo Police Department recognizes the incident as unfortunate but realizes the officer exercised the best option available to him at the time, as the incident happened within seconds.”
MEMPHIS, TN, 4/14/17: Shelby County Sheriff's Office said a 12-year-old was accidentally shot by a 13-year-old on Friday afternoon. The shooting happened around 1:45 PM at a home on Grand Pines Drive near East Holmes Road. Investigators said four children were at home alone during the time of the shooting. One child was able to get a gun. Deputies said the children started playing with the pistol and a 12-year-old boy was shot in the arm. Investigators said the shooting could have been prevented if the parent had locked up the gun. Authorities said the gun was left out in the open, giving the children easy access to it. The grandfather of one of the four boys at the house said they were playing basketball at the time and then somehow a gun got involved. "No, they are not bad boys. Mischievous does come up in a child, but for the most part everybody is good. Everybody is good," grandfather Sean Lawrence said. Deputies said this should serve as a reminder for all parents to take extra precautions. "The real lesson is if you have a weapon, lock it up," said SCSO spokesperson Earl Farrell. "All these young guys would have been spending a Good Friday playing together if the weapon wouldn't have been left out - where they could get a hold of it." The child is in stable condition and was taken to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. The child is expected to be okay.
SELMA, AL, 4/14/17: A Dallas County 19-year-old was allegedly accidentally shot and killed by another 19-year-old Friday morning in the same vehicle. Rufus Williams Jr. was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Captain Mike Granthum with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department. Ratravious Sanders has been charged with murder and is currently being held at the Dallas County Jail without bond. Granthum said Sanders will have a bond hearing sometime early this week for what he called a “reckless murder.” The shooting happened between 11-11:30 AM Friday morning in the Tyler and Sardis area near the intersection of County Road 67 and Industrial Drive. Granthum said Williams was riding in the front passenger seat of a car with his girlfriend, who was driving, and two others in the back seat. According to Granthum, Sanders was sitting behind Williams and was trying to shoot a handgun out the window. “They were riding down the road, and [Sanders] had recently got a gun. He wanted to show off the gun, so he was going to shoot it out the window, and the gun failed to go off,” Granthum said. “So he’s in the backseat trying to get the gun to fire, trying to find out why it malfunctioned, and the gun went off.” Granthum said the bullet went through the back of Williams’ seat, striking him in the back and exiting through his chest. “They were friends,” Granthum said. “There was no arguing. They’re not enemies. It was a tragic situation.” Granthum said Sanders was a senior at Selma High School, and that Williams was dating his sister. Granthum said the gun, which is a 9 mm, was confiscated, and it is being tracked down to find out where it came from. Sanders allegedly told investigators the gun was given to him. “These guns are made for one thing, and that’s to kill,” Granthum said. “They’ve got to realize they’re not to be played with. If you have a gun, you need to know how to handle it. And fist of all, you need to have a legal gun with you.” Granthum said investigators are still trying to determine where the gun came from and are still interviewing people about the case. “We do believe at this time it could possibly be an accident like they were talking about,” Granthum said. “But it is still reckless. Even though it was an accident, he could still be facing some serious charges.” Granthum said there is nothing to make investigators think there is any foul play in the shooting. “Charges could change depending on the outcome of the investigation,” Granthum said. “But right now, he is charged with murder. He recklessly caused the death of another person.” This is the first murder in the Dallas County Sheriff Department’s jurisdiction in 2017. This is the second between the city and county combined.
SIDNEY, OH, 4/14/17: A 27-year-old man has been charged with a misdemeanor after a handgun he had on him at the Sidney Walmart discharged a round. Kevin Wilson was a customer in the store, 2400 W. Michigan St., when his semiautomatic weapon discharged, sending a slug into the floor, Sidney police Sgt. Sean Martin said. No one was hit. Wilson presented his concealed carry permit and police confiscated his weapon, Martin said. Police were dispatched to the store about 5:30 PM, he said. Martin said the charge is discharging weapons, a misdemeanor. The state's newest gun law overrules private business owners from banning guns on their property as long as the person is a CCW license holder and locks the weapon in his or her personal vehicle.
JAMESTOWN TOWNSHIP, MI, 4/15/17: The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department is investigating after an 11-year-old was accidentally shot Saturday. It happened in the 1400 block of Angling Road around 6:30 PM Saturday. Deputies say it appears people in the area were target shooting when a stray bullet missed a backstop and struck the 11-year-old in the upper body. A family member rushed the child to St. Mary’s hospital but the child was later transferred to Helen DeVos Children’s hospital in good condition. The incident remains under investigation.
DAVENPORT, IA, 4/15/17: UPDATE: Police responded to a shots fired call in the area of 14th and Farnham Streets, but no scene was found. They say a short time later, a 20-year-old man arrived at Genesis East Hospital with a gunshot wound. The injury was non-life threatening. Detectives are conducting follow up, but say the injury was determined to be unintentionally self-inflicted. ORIGINAL: Police say one person was taken to the hospital after being shot on Saturday night, April 15, 2017. Not much information has been released, but we do know that police were called to 14th and Farnham Streets around 8:30 PM. They say they didn't find any shell casings or anything related to the shooting in that area, but neighbors did report hearing gun shots. Police tell us the gunshot victim is recovering at the hospital. There is no word on the severity of their wounds.
ELIZABETH CITY, NC, 4/15/17: A Pasquotank County man shot at his home early Saturday was in critical condition Wednesday at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, according to a Sentara spokeswoman. Thomas Wilson Williams IV, 43, of Weeksville Road, Elizabeth City, was shot by his girlfriend with a shotgun around 12:25 AM Saturday, according to an incident report from the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s office. Pasquotank Sheriff Randy Cartwright said Wednesday that the shooting appears to have been accidental. Witnesses said Williams’s girlfriend was returning the shotgun to a gun rack when it accidentally discharged, damaging a wall and causing several pellets to strike Williams, who was in an adjacent room, Cartwright said. The Sheriff’s Office is hoping to talk to Williams before making a final determination in the case, Cartwright said.
JUNEAU, AK, 4/15/17: At 1:34 PM Saturday, JPD responded to a report of negligent discharge of a firearm in the Juneau areas; investigation continues.
BISMARCK, ND, 4/15/17: A 23-year-old Bismarck man is dead of an accidental gunshot wound. Bismarck Police said Nick Laqua was showing the handgun to another person at home on Friday night. While handling the firearm, it discharged, a witness told police. He died from a head injury early Saturday at a local hospital, police said. The incident occurred on the 500 block of Assiniboin Drive in Bismarck. Brother-in-law Michael Gilbertson said Laqua grew up in Bismarck and graduated from Century High School in 2012. He worked recently as a sales consultant for Your Home Improvement Company. Gilbertson said Laqua loved hockey, longboarding and spending time with his nephews and niece. "It was just a horrific accident," Gilbertson said. "Nick was taken from us way too soon."