This week's collection includes four accidents involving law enforcement officers, four concealed carry ninjas, three gun range-related accidents, and three home invasion shootings. No one I found this week has explicitly admitted having an accident while cleaning a loaded gun, so that's a milestone. Though it must be admitted that several of the listed scenarios come suspiciously close. Unfortunately, there was no rest from the mounting tally of child victims of GunFAIL. This week's group were aged 2, 4, 13, 14, 15 and 16, and we must note that police suspect both the two and four-year-olds were shot by other pre-schoolers. That trend, too, continues unabated.
Of special note this week: the Beaver Creek, Oregon, rifleman who decided he was safe in attempting to shoot squirrels in his yard with his .22, but ended up killing the neighbor's 4-year-old black Labrador retriever (who was in her own yard) instead. That counts as a home invasion shooting, in my book. But it's particularly worth noting because the odds are that this good guy with a gun would have sworn on a stack of bibles last week that he was a Responsible Gun Owner.TM And now, suddenly, he's not. Instead, he's just a really, really sorry gun owner. Not that it's doing the neighbors or their dog much good. But for a while there, we were almost safe from the tyranny of squirrels, so it's just the price of freedom, I guess.
One bit of follow-up this week, as well. The Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney has decided not to file any charges in the late May case of the 10-year-old Crozet, Virginia, girl documented in GunFAIL XIX. The case is noteworthy because the girl was killed by her 13-year-old brother, while the five children were home alone that Tuesday morning. Seems Pastor Paul Hollifield and his wife home school their children, so it's not unusual for them to be home alone in the mornings, when they are expected to be self-starters when it comes to school work. On this particular Tuesday, however, their 13-year-old boy decided that 10AM on Tuesday would be a fine time to clean and repair the shotgun he'd been given as a gift after passing a hunter's safety course the previous year.
The gun hadn’t been working properly, and he had taken it apart, cleaned it, and put it back together the night before, leaving it in the living room with the safety engaged. He had taken two shells out, but forgot the one in the chamber, the statement said. While he was testing out his repairs in the morning with the gun raised to eye level and the safety off, he apparently accidentally pulled the trigger.And there you have it. He passed his safety course, and "had been schooled in the responsible use and care of the firearm," etc., etc., etc. And yet, he forgot a shell in the chamber of his shotgun, and evidently figured that meant that a "safe direction" for pointing it was ... the living room loveseat occupied by his 9 and 10-year-old sisters. The stack of bibles once again fails us.
The shotgun was pointed in the direction of the living room’s loveseat and down a hallway, according to the statement. Maggie Hollifield was standing behind the loveseat, and her 9-year-old sibling was seated.
The 13-year-old “had been schooled in the responsible use and care of the firearm and had demonstrated his knowledge of and adherence to the requirements of responsible gun ownership,” she said.
- LANHAM, MD, 3/27/13: A D.C. police lieutenant has been charged with leaving a loaded gun where his son found it and took it to school. Prince George's County court documents show Mark Antonio Hodge of Glenn Dale has been charged with leaving a loaded firearm in a place where he would have known that a minor would gain access to the firearm. Officers were called to DuVal High School in Lanham March 27 for a report of a student with a firearm, according to court documents. Officers learned the 15-year-old had taken the gun from his home. He said his dad kept the weapon under some clothes in a closet.
- BRUNSWICK, GA, 4/29/13: At approximately 4:07 p.m. April 29, officers with the Brunswick Police Department responded to the parking lot of the McDonald's restaurant on Altama Ave. in reference to an accidental firearm discharge. Officers discovered that a 21-year-old white male from St. Simons Island accidentally shot himself in the right facial check area while he was sitting in his parked vehicle. The investigation has revealed that the injured man was in legal possession of the handgun.
- KILLEEN, TX, 5/31/13: Killeen police have arrested and charged the father of a 2-year-old child shot in an accidental shooting May 31. The child suffered serious injury after being shot with a .40-caliber pistol left loaded and within reach, Killeen police spokeswoman Carroll Smith said. It was unclear whether the 2-year-old girl shot herself or was shot by her 3-year-old brother who also handled the weapon. At night, Hicks would leave the weapon accessible to him, according to police. In the morning, he would typically place it in a secured place in his home located in the 1700 block of North 24th Street. However, on the day of the shooting, he forgot to replace the weapon, Smith said.
- MADISON CO., GA, exact date unknown: A man on McGinnis Chandler Road reportedly accidentally shot himself in the pinky while showing a pistol to a friend.
- PHENIX CITY, AL, 6/03/13: A shooting at the Phenix City Amphitheater turns out to be accidental. Police say a man was carrying a gun in his pocket and accidentally fired a bullet into his leg while reaching into his pants. It was my initial assumption that they meant he was reaching into his pocket, where the gun was. But maybe he was actually reaching into his pants. Who knows?
- MT. PERRY, OH, 6/06/13 Jacob Henry "Jack" Stevens, 16, of Mt. Perry, passed away on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at his home due to an accidental gunshot.
- CENTRAL, AZ, 6/07/13: A woman was transported to a Tucson hospital Friday after she was hit by a bullet fragment during an accidental firearm discharge at her home. Brittany Matthews, 20, was initially driven to the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center by her father after bullet fragments from a .243-caliber rifle struck her in her left foot. The victim’s father said his 14-year-old son accidentally discharged a Remington .243-caliber hunting rifle when he thought the chamber was empty. The youth allegedly pointed the weapon at his bed and pulled the trigger. The round then went through the mattress and wood frame and fragments struck Matthews’ left foot. The juvenile agreed with his father’s view of events and said he removed the magazine and opened the bolt to check for a round in the chamber but did not see one.
- CANTON, KS, 6/07/13: At 2:23 p.m. Friday, a 15-year-old Canton male shot himself in the leg while playing with his father’s .357 revolver. According to Canton officers, the boy unloaded his father’s gun before playing with it. After re-loading it, the gun discharged as he was putting it away, shooting a bullet through the boy’s left calf. No bones were hit by the bullet; only muscle and tissue.
- WALNUT HILL, FL, 6/08/13: A man accidentally shot himself while cleaning a firearm Saturday, a representative from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies did not identify the man, but said that his injuries did not appear to be life threatening. The accident occurred at about 4:20 p.m. Saturday near Circle Road and Rockaway Creek in Walnut Hill.
- HAGERSTOWN, MD, 6/09/13: Hagerstown police said a man accidentally shot himself early Sunday on the city’s West End. Lt. Tom Langston said the shooting occurred just before 2 a.m. Sunday on Church Street between West Side Avenue and Alexander Street. Officers were investigating the area of the shooting Sunday morning when they received a call from 911 dispatchers saying a man with a nonlife-threatening gunshot wound was at Meritus Medical Center east of Hagerstown. Langston said the shot was fired from a stolen .22-caliber handgun. UPDATE: When [the man, Trent Alexander Hayden] saw the injury to his testicle, he had a relative take him to the hospital.
- READING, PA, 6/09/13: A Reading man accidentally shot himself in a finger in an alley in the 1000 block of Church Street late Sunday, police reported Monday. The man, 23, whose name was not released, initially told police that he was attacked and shot, but later admitted he had shot himself, detectives said.
- TAHLEQUAH, OK, 6/09/13: — Sheriff’s deputies responded to a disturbance call Sunday involving a Tahlequah man who shot himself while cleaning a firearm. Heath Brownell, 21, told investigators he received a self-inflicted gun shot wound to his left hand when he tried to release the slide on his Springfield XD .45 caliber ACP handgun. Brownell was reported to be on the front porch of the North Blackfox Hollow Road residence. The bullet was said to have traveled through Brownell’s hand through the wall located to the left of the front door on the residence and through a cabinet door underneath the kitchen sink where it was found lodged in the wall. A large puddle of blood was found on the northeast corner of the porch in front of a green plastic patio chair. Brownell was reported to smell of alcohol, and Brownell said he had consumed several cans of beer several hours before the incident.
- ALBERT LEA, MN, 6/09/13: The Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office received a report that a man received an accidental gunshot wound at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at 24667 830th Ave., Albert Lea, according to the Sheriff’s Office logs. A man was reportedly checking the sight on a gun, when he accidentally shot himself in the finger.
- LUBBOCK, TX, 6/09/13: Police have discovered how a Lubbock man ended up dead in his neighbor's kitchen over the weekend. Officials now say 51-year-old Robert Lowery accidentally shot himself in the leg. 48-year-old Bonnie Huey told police that she came home Sunday from a weekend trip and found Lowery dead in her kitchen in the 3000 block of East 3rd Street. According to police, the autopsy shows that Lowery died of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound while trying to put his gun in the waistband of his pants.
- HENRY CO., GA, 6/10/13: The 14-year-old girl who claimed she was injured by a drive-by shooter was actually shot by her brother, Henry County police said Tuesday night. Now both siblings could face charges. The girl, whose name was not released, told Clayton County police Monday afternoon she’d been shot in the abdomen as she sold candy on Spivey and Clemons roads, not far from the Henry County line. “Working jointly with Clayton County police, we have determined that the shooting actually occurred at the victim’s house inside Henry County,” Major Jason Bolton with Henry police said in an emailed statement. “It appears at this time that the victim was shot by her 18-year-old brother while he was playing with a gun.”
- MYERSVILLE, MD, 6/10/13: A Myersville man was treated for a gunshot wound after he accidentally shot himself in the foot while hunting groundhogs Monday afternoon, according to the Frederick County Sheriff's Office. A sheriff's deputy was called to the 3300 block of Black Rock Road in Myersville around 4:45 p.m. for the report of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, said Sgt. Jennifer Bailey, a sheriff's office spokeswoman. Bailey said upon investigating, deputies determined the 63-year-old man was hunting groundhogs in a field near Forrest School Road. While hunting, the man lowered the muzzle of his rifle toward the ground and the gun went off, striking the side of his foot, Bailey said.
- FAYETTEVILLE, NC, 6/10/13: A Fayetteville man was arrested Monday after a gun was found in his carry-on bag, Fayetteville police said. Police responded to Fayetteville Regional Airport Monday around 11 a.m. after learning about the gun. Kwane Malik Mali White, 17, of the 5100 block of Thackeray Drive, was charged with misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon. He is scheduled to appear in Cumberland County District Court on Aug. 7, police said. He was heading to basic training, police said, but did not make his flight after the gun was found. After being charged, White was picked up by Fort Bragg officials, police said.
- BELMONT, NH, 6/11/13: A man accidentally shot himself in the leg while at the Belmont Firearms shooting range, according to police. The man, 72, of Moultonborough, whose name was not available, was at the range shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday when he accidentally discharged one round into his right calf, Sgt. Stephen Akerstrom said.
- GRAND RAPIDS, WI, 6/11/13: A man shot himself in the foot June 11 at 2:27 a.m. at a house at the 4000 block of Log Home Lane. A .40 caliber pistol fell off a dresser in the house and discharged hitting the man in the left heel.
- STOW CREEK TOWNSHIP, NJ, 6/11/13: State Police said two men’s plans to rob a home in Cumberland County fell apart after one accidentally fired his handgun before they broke into the residence. State troopers responded at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday to a home on Wills Road in Stow Creek Township and found a home with a broken front window. They found a vehicle with two handguns inside and arrested Bruce Bader, 24, of Upper Deerfield, who was hiding nearby, police said. A second suspect, Blaine Stanton, 23, of Seabrook, fled in a stolen vehicle but was later apprehended at his home, police said. Police said Bader and Stanton planned to rob the home but fled after Stanton accidentally fired his handgun. Bader broke the window with his handgun, police said.
- LAFAYETTE, LA, 6/11/13: Residents in one Lafayette Parish neighborhood say stray bullets are becoming a problem. They say this happened at least five times in the past year. The big question is where are they coming from. The neighborhood is off of Lajaunie Road on the northside of Lafayette. The latest incident happened Tuesday. Less than one mile from that home is the Lafayette Sheriff's shooting range. The latest bullet hit a shed. Moments earlier, a contractor was on a ladder doing work. He says it's divine intervention he wasn't hit. "That bullet hole is right there. Chances are, it would have hit me dead in the chest whether or not it would have went through me and killed me, crippled me, or what. I don't know. I was definitely in the line of it." Feet away, a similar story at the Broussard home. Angel Broussard says several bullets hit her carport last year. "We don't think someone is purposely trying to cause injury. However, it has to be addressed. This has been one time too many," said Broussard.
- GAINESVILLE, FL, 6/12/13: Enece Guerrier, 36, of Orlando was a guest at the Sleep Inn & Suites, 4110 SW 40th Blvd., when police say he walked into the lobby around 1 a.m. bleeding profusely from a wound to his femoral artery. Guerrier later told police he had accidentally shot himself with his own .45 caliber pistol in his hotel room, while removing it from his holster, according to a report.
- DELRAY BEACH, FL, 6/12/13: In the 300 block of Sterling Avenue, a man shot himself in the leg while sticking a gun in his waistband.
- PHOENIX, AZ, 6/12/13: A Phoenix man faces possible felony manslaughter charges after shooting his friend at a Glendale apartment late Wednesday night. Joe Autry Colter, 20, was one of four people who met police at the apartment near 55th Avenue and Camelback Road just before midnight. He told officers he accidentally shot his friend and that his friend needed medical help, according to a court document. His friend, who was not identified, later died at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. Colter said he had purchased a 9mm handgun from a classified ad website, Backpage, about three months ago to protect himself and was joking around with his friend while they were hanging out and playing video games, according to the document. He said he pulled the gun, racked the slide and ejected what he thought was the only bullet in the gun, according to the document. He said he forgot that he left the magazine in the gun and a second round was chambered. He said he pointed the gun at his friend in jest, pulled the trigger and expected to hear the click of an empty chamber. Instead, the gun fired and struck his friend in the chest, according to the document.
- CHESTER, VA, 6/12/13: A 13-year-old Chesterfield County boy has been charged with recklessly handling a firearm after a pistol he was showing to a 13-year-old friend discharged, striking her in the leg. Chesterfield police said Thursday’s shooting appears to be accidental. Chesterfield police Lt. Randy Horowitz said the boy, who wasn’t identified because of his age, apparently brought the weapon – an older, small-caliber semiautomatic pistol – to a third friend’s house in the 3900 block of Windcry Drive. While showing the gun to his friends, he fired a single shot about 12:30 p.m. as he pointed the weapon downwards. At this point, police believe the boy accidentally discharged the weapon.
- KNOXVILLE, TN, 6/13/13: An accidental shooting in Knoxville sent one person to the hospital early Thursday morning. The incident happened around 2:30 a.m. in the 4700 block of Elm View Rd. in Northwest Knoxville. Knoxville police said it was an accidental shooting. Police said a man was holding gun and it accidentally went off, shooting his wife in the leg.
- HOLDEN, MA, 6/13/13: An Assumption College campus police official accidentally shot himself in the foot this morning while at a shooting range in Holden. Deputy Chief Keith S. Hough, 55, received a bullet wound to his right foot when his handgun went off as he was placing it in his holster, according to District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.'s office, which investigated the 8 a.m. shooting. The shooting occurred inside a mobile firing range parked in front of the old fire station on Main Street, according to Police Chief George Sherrill. The district attorney's office said the deputy chief was participating in a live-fire police training program provided by Blue Line Corp., a private vendor. The 48-foot mobile range trailers are used by police departments to train in various simulated scenarios. They are soundproof, bulletproof and built by a Department of Defense contractor.
- GLEN BURNIE, MD, 6/13/13: A 31-year-old man was arrested after a gunshot was fired through a wall, police said. Anne Arundel County police officers were called to a home at 8050 Montague Court in Glen Burnie for a report of shots fired on Thursday. Police learned the shots came from within 8048 Montague Court and that's where they found a man on the porch and confronted him about the incident. Police learned the resident of 8048 Montague was in his home when he discharged a firearm, and the round from that weapon penetrated a common wall and passed into a neighbor’s home on Montague Court, coming to rest in an interior wall. Police said the man tried to convince officers that the errant round was an accidental discharge from an air rifle, but police said they found a loaded handgun with a fresh spent round. The man, identified as Matthew Joseph Klein, was taken into custody. After obtaining permission to search the home, two high-powered rifles, two air rifles, a Tec9 assault pistol, and 14 handguns and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition were seized, police said.
- SHOREWOOD HILLS, WI, 6/13/13: A Shorewood Hills Police officer accidentally shot himself in the hand Thursday. A statement from the Police Chief says the 15-year-old veteran with the force accidentally fired the gun inside the Police Department.
- WINSTON-SALEM, NC, 6/14/13: Winston-Salem police are investigating a shooting in the 1100 block of East 15th Street in which a 5-year-old boy accidentally shot a 4-year-old boy at noon on Friday, authorities said. When officers went to the house, they found the 4-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to his shoulder, Winston-Salem police said. The older boy was retrieving an item from a downstairs closet when he found the firearm, police said. The boy then fired the gun, hitting the younger boy.
- STOCKTON, CA, 6/14/13: Negligent discharge of a firearm: Officers responded to the 100 block of West Park Street on a report of a person shot shortly before 7 a.m. Friday. They located a man who was taken to a hospital with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to his thigh. The man was described as evasive in his explanation to officers, who determined that the man suffered an accidental, self-inflicted injury.
- ANKENY, IA, 6/14/13: An Ankeny man has been charged by authorities with fatally shooting his daughter in what initially appears to have been a tragic accident. Ankeny police identified the victim as Emily Nicole Hazelbaker, 18, who had resided in an apartment at 903 S.E. Delaware Ave. Police Chief Gary Mikulec said in a news release that the young woman was found dead inside the apartment on Friday of a single gunshot wound. Police had been called at 5:35 p.m. “The case remains under investigation. However, early reports suggest Scott Hazelbaker pointed the handgun at his daughter and pulled the trigger without knowing a bullet was loaded in the gun,” according to an Ankeny police statement issued Saturday.
- BEAVER CREEK, OR, 6/14/13: A family's dog playing in its own front yard was shot and killed by a neighbor who says it was an accident and was shooting squirrels. The neighbor told sheriff's deputies he saw something move in the shadows. But it turned out to be a 4-year-old black lab named Lola. Lola was chasing squirrels in a wooded part of Karen Barreth's yard by the fence with her other black lab, Jack. While Karen called the sheriff's office, her neighbor rushed over. "He was really remorseful – almost in tears," Karen said. "He came up and says, 'I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I was shooting squirrels.' I said, 'You can't be doing that. What if it was a child? You can't be shooting toward houses and stuff like that.'"