First, we'll take care of some old business from prior to this week. Often, reports of shooting incidents that qualify for GunFAIL don't come out right away, but turn up a week or so later. Earlier in this series, I was keeping things strictly in chronological order, and adding updates to earlier posts when I found late-breaking reports. But slipping those reports into lists that have already been read by 90+% of the people who read them tends to understate their impact. If you're interested in these incidents and the number of them that are found, you should see every one of them as I find them. So although I'll still present each installment in the series in chronological order, I won't be updating old posts with new finds.
Second, I'm going to separate out the suicides and murder-suicides from the rest of these incidents. Although they do in many cases represent that sub-category of GunFAIL I sometimes tag on Twitter as #protectingthefamily—that is, the idea that guns bought to protect the family often end up killing the family—these incidents are hard to classify based on little more than the news reports, which are often sketchy.
Third, I'm not entirely sure what to do with domestic situations that involve guns, but don't involve suicides. What about straight-up assaults or murders? What should I do with incidents where a domestic partner might have purchased a gun for protecting the home, only to end up using it to kill his or her partner? Isn't that a mission failure of some kind? If so, where does it belong?
All of which brings me to another point. The more of these stories I collect, the more I realize how difficult it sometimes can be to categorize them. What do I do with a suicide committed with a gun not owned by the victim? That doesn't fit in the category of family deaths caused by a gun purchased to protect them. And what if a murder-suicide is committed between terminally ill, elderly spouses? Does it fit the category? It hardly seems sensitive to include them, of course. But it also might not really be very telling about the way guns get used. Or maybe it is. But one thing is for sure, it has made me more acutely aware of the difficulties gun rights advocates point out with things like defining "assault weapons," or listing "legitimate" reasons to have certain types of guns, or certain modes of employing them. If there are ways of killing yourself or your family with guns that confound the notion of #GunFAIL, then surely there are things I haven't thought of in terms of justifiable uses, reasons for ownership, etc.
With that thought out of the way, let's begin with the GunFAIL report, below the fold.
- EFFINGHAM CO., GA, 1/15/13: A man was showing his son his new 9 mm handgun when he accidentally shot himself in the hand and his son in the thigh.
- WEST CHICAGO, IL, 1/21/13: A West Chicago man’s honesty and willingness to take responsibility for accidentally firing a pistol whose bullet went through the wall of his friend’s home and damaged a door across the street were factors in authorities’ decision not to seek felony charges. Other factors considered were the shooting was unintended — Studer did not know the gun was loaded when he pulled the trigger.
- GROVE CITY, OH, 1/22/13: An 18-year-old Grove City man was arrested and charged with negligent assault, using a weapon while intoxicated and accidental shooting after an incident at 5:58 p.m. Jan. 22, in which he accidentally shot a 17-year-old in the back in the 3300 block of Cameron Street.
- HOSCHTON, GA, 1/22/13: a 64-year-old Hoschton man reported that he was at home cleaning his .22-caliber pistol and accidentally picked up a loaded magazine and placed it in the weapon, which discharged. The bullet went through the man’s hand, shattering the little finger.
- CONCORD, NH, 1/25/13: Courtney Rojek of Pittsfield and Jacob Noury of Barrington were arraigned yesterday on felony-level charges of theft and possession of a firearm inside a court facility. Bailiff Julie Bickford lost her gun at the courthouse Friday morning, and told the police the semiautomatic handgun likely fell out of its holster while she was using the bathroom, according to an arrest affidavit.
- SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, OH, 1/25/13: Authorities have identified the Springfield Township man who was taken to an area hospital Friday after a nearly seven-hour standoff that ended when law enforcement agents used tear gas, entered the home, and removed him. Jeffery Derden, 50, was in critical condition today at the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio Hospital, where he was taken with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, Detective Patrick LaPlante of the Lucas County Sheriff's Office said. Detective LaPlante said Mr. Derden shot himself with a 40-caliber handgun while sitting in a chair in the living room of his house in the 8000 block of Airport Highway about 3:15 p.m. as the Lucas County SWAT team entered the house.
- MIAMI, OK, 1/26/13: John Allen Largent, 38, was found after a 911 call was made about 10 a.m. Saturday from his home at 110 G SE to the Miami Police Department. The person who telephoned police told them Largent had been shot accidentally.
- MIDDLETOWN, PA, 1/26/13: Police: Drunk Father Fires Gun After Fight with Son
- TIPTON, KS, 1/26/13: Salina Regional Health Center's chief operating officer suffered minor wounds Saturday when he was accidentally shot during a pheasant hunting excursion at Ringneck Ranch near Tipton. Joel Phelps, 41, suffered pellet injuries mostly to his legs and was treated at the ranch by Salina trauma surgeon Dr. Dwayne Beckenhauer, who along with Phelps was part of a hunting group. Phelps said he was injured when another hunter tripped and the gun that hunter was carrying discharged.
- MOBILE, AL, 1/26/13: Family: Teen shot by random gunfire. Sherri Lockette said her 16-year-old daughter happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time when she was shot while sitting in the passenger seat of a car.
- HOBART, IN, 1/26/13: Police were called on Jan. 26 to a trailer in the 900 block of West 37th Avenue on a report of a man shot in the leg. The victim, who was taken to St. Mary Medical Center, said he had permission to go into the trailer owned by Marin, court documents state. A confrontation ensued between the two and the victim was asked to leave, court documents state. He said he had a hard time opening the screen door and turned to see Marin with a gun in her right hand, court documents state. Marin admitted to police she had accidentally shot the victim in the leg because she feared for the safety of herself and her 16-year-old autistic child.
- PLYMOUTH, MN, 1/27/13: A man is recovering from a gunshot wound after accidentally shooting himself inside a restroom at a Plymouth grocery store late Sunday afternoon. Authorities say the incident happened around 4:30 p.m. at the Rainbow Foods store at 4190 Vinewood Lane. Police say the man dropped his gun while using the restroom and the firearm discharged, striking him in the lower leg. Police say the man has a conceal and carry permit.
- MURRAY, NE, 1/27/13. According to the Cass County Sheriff's Office, they were called to the scene of the shooting at around 11:00 am Sunday. 55 year old Antonio Marino was attempting to clean his pistol. He removed the gun's magazine but failed to remove the round from the chamber. When he attempted to remove the gun's barrel, it discharged, and the bullet struck Marino's left hand, then a refrigerant line in the residence's heating & air conditioning unit.
- LANCASTER, CA, 1/27/13: Authorities are looking into whether a shooting inside a Lancaster smoke shop was deliberate or accidental. One store employee was killed and her coworker was taken into custody. Investigators said the male employee who fired the gun claims it was an accident. According to detectives, the store owner was in the front and the victim, who worked part-time at the shop, was in a back area where a shotgun was kept. "Another employee decided to go back to where she was. She was in the area back there cleaning up. And at this point, he said the shotgun discharged.
- TANGENT, OR, 1/27/13: Accidental shooting — 10:20 a.m. Sunday, 31880 Highway 99E, Oregon School of Gunfighting, Tangent. A 37-year-old man accidentally shot himself in the foot. No information about his condition was available.
- UPPER PROVIDENCE, PA, 1/27/13: A 33-year-old Chesco man shot himself in the lower left leg while driving south on Route 29 on Sunday, Jan. 27, at 3:03 a.m., police said. He told police that while driving, he attempted to transfer the .38-caliber handgun from his trouser pocket to an outer jacket pocket when the gun went off, police said.
- AUTAUGAVILLE, AL, 1/28/13: A 54-year-old Prattville man, hunting deer from a tripod stand Monday near Autaugaville, apparently died when his rifle discharged as he was preparing to dismount the stand and sent a bullet into his chest.
- BATESVILLE, MS, 1/28/13: Panola County authorities say the bullet that struck a Panola County school bus, grazing at least one student in the back, may have been the result of a hunting accident.
- TULSA, OK, 1/28/13: Mastin told police he was picking up a .45-caliber handgun from a sofa in the living room when he accidentally shot Wilson. He described Wilson as a close friend.
- WAREHAM, MA, 1/28/13: Plymouth Police Capt. John W. Rogers Jr. faces disciplinary measures for leaving his off-duty weapon, a .357-caliber revolver, in the bathroom at Wareham District Court on Monday. Plymouth Police Chief Michael E. Botieri said when Rogers realized his gun was not in his holster he returned to the bathroom, and the gun was gone.
- CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, 1/28/13: Police filed charges against a man who claimed to be the victim of a shooting and burglary at his home on Deforrest St. On Monday, Nick Kelley showed up at an area hospital with a gunshot wound to his shoulder. He told police that he walked in on a burglary in progress, struggled with the supposed burglar and was shot. Yesterday, police said Kelley was being untruthful and that the gunshot wound was self-inflicted. It's still not clear how Kelley managed to shoot himself or why he did it. Police charged him with filing a false report to a police officer which is a Class "B" Misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
- CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, 1/28/13: A local man said he was shot by a burglar in his home on Monday. After some investigating Corpus Christi Police say they don't believe him. Officers believe he shot himself and made up the whole story.
- SPOKANE, WA, 1/29/13: Spokane police are investigating a shooting on the city's north side in which the alleged perpetrator also tried to dismember the victim with a hatchet. Police responded to a home about 5 a.m. Tuesday and found one man dead in the basement. Police say 19-year-old Jeremy McVicker allegedly accidentally shot the victim in the head, killing him. Police say McVicker then tried to dismember the body in order to conceal the incident.
- FRESNO, CA, 1/29/13: An 11-year-old boy was shot while in the backyard of a southwest Fresno home. The boy, whose name was not released, was in the backyard of a home around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday. He was struck in the leg by the bullet, said police. Police have not identified a shooter or a motive in the shooting. Police only know the bullet was shot south of the home.
- WAYCROSS, GA, 1/29/13: Matt Lee Blue, 37, who is listed as both the victim and the offender on a Waycross police report, went to his truck in the parking lot at 5 p.m. to retrieve an item for a friend. When reaching for the item, however, Blue’s .22-caliber revolver fell from the truck and discharged when it hit the pavement, sending one round into his leg, the report said.
- ALBANY, GA, 1/30/13: Just before 2:00 a.m. Wednesday, the burglar alarm went off at the residence at 1563 Georgia Avenue. 27-year-old Jimmy Jones Junior, a tenant at the residence, got his gun, thinking there was a burglar inside. He spotted a dark figure moving, fired one shot which struck the individual in the elbow. Turns out, it was his roommate, 27-year-old Gene Anthony.
- NORWALK, CT, 1/30/13: Police are questioning the veracity of a man who said someone shot him in the left foot Wednesday night while he was walking on Woodward Avenue. Police spokesman Lt. Praveen John said based on the angle the bullet entered his foot, it appears he accidentally shot himself.
- EUGENE, OR, 1/30/13: A Eugene man accidentally shot himself in the leg with a holstered gun Thursday afternoon while he was in the bathroom of a downtown Internet cafe, police said. Officials with Eugene Police said that the 26-year-old was using the restroom at a private Eugene Internet cafe when handgun holstered to his leg went off, hitting him in the thigh.
- EVANSVILLE, IN, 1/31/13: Evansville Police say a morning shooting victim is now a suspect, after shooting himself in the leg. The call first came in as shots fired on the 300 block of Cass Avenue around 4:40 Thursday morning. Police say after further investigation, they determined the victim was shot after a gun in his pocket went off.
Suicides & Domestic Violence
- ROYAL OAK, MI, 1/17/13:Target Sports is taking steps to prevent suicides at its gun range by no longer renting firearms to individuals. Since 2001, 12 people have walked in alone to the Royal Oak location, 30482 Woodward Ave., rented weapons and shot themselves – five fatally. Three of the incidents – two suicides and one attempt - happened in the last four months. Most recently, a man shot himself in the chin about 7 p.m. Jan. 17 and ran out of the business six blocks south of 13 Mile Road. Royal Oak and Berkley police officers searched the area with the Madison Heights police dog. They found the victim with non-life threatening wounds.
- BOULDER CITY, NV, 1/21/13: The Las Vegas police lieutenant who killed his wife, son and himself was Hans Pieter Walters, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, the Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner said in a statement Tuesday.
- HOISINGTON, KS, 1/22/13: Sheriff Brian Bellendir says in a news release that the bodies of 35-year-old Justin Heggemeier and 39-year-old Michelle Heggemeier were found Tuesday night at a farm northeast of Hoisington. Officers went to the house after a juvenile called to say shots had been fired at the home. Bellinder says it appears Justin Heggemeier shot his wife at close range and then killed himself. The juvenile apparently hid in the closet and was not injured.
- ARCADIA, NC, 1/22/13: Davidson County Sheriff David Grice has ruled the two deaths of an Arcadia couple as a murder-suicide. Grice said Friday that he believes Timothy "Shane" Benbow shot his wife, Emily Benbow, and then shot himself.
- ROUZERVILLE, PA, 1/22/13: Two people — both with ties to local law enforcement — are dead after a murder-suicide at a home on Mar Penn Avenue in Rouzerville Tuesday evening. John Fleagle, 50, shot and killed his wife Cathy Fleagle, 45, with a handgun in their home at 13878 Mar Penn Ave. around 5 p.m., according to Pennsylvania State Police. The couple lived in a lower level apartment, according to a state police news release sent this morning. John Fleagle also shot Cathy Fleagle's 18-year-old son Mitchell Robinson in the arm. He was taken to a Maryland hospital, but additional information about his injury or condition was not available this morning, police said. John Fleagle then shot and killed himself, according to police.
- MADISON, WI, 1/23/13: The estranged husband of a homicide victim has been found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Madison police said. Police searched the home of Bernard Grosso after 31-year-old Jennifer Boyce was found dead in an east-side apartment. Boyce was due in court today to finalize a divorce from Grosso. Grosso’s body was found when officers conducted a search of his east-side house overnight, DeSpain said. The case is being investigated as a murder-suicide. A loaded assault rifle and another firearm were recovered from the home, DeSpain said.
- MONITOR TOWNSHIP, MI, 1/23/13: A Bay County man and his girlfriend are dead in what police are calling, a murder-suicide. Police found a weapon and suicide note at the crime scene. The Bay County sheriff says Robert Burt, 52, shot and killed his girlfriend, Michelle Pischel, 48, before turning the gun on himself.
- LAVEEN, AZ, 1/24/13: Authorities suspect a murder-suicide left two people dead inside of a Laveen area home. Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at a large rural property near 65th Drive and Southern Avenue after a woman caller reported shots fired around 5 a.m. Thursday. The caller said she heard shots coming from the home where her son lives on the same piece of land, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
- TOWN 'N COUNTRY, FL, 1/24/13: At about 9 a.m. Thursday, deputies say, Pedro Mendoza, 42, shot his estranged wife, police dispatcher Deanna Mendoza, 34, and then turned the gun on himself.
- PHOENIX, AZ, 1/24/13: Standoff ends with 2 dead; murder-suicide a possibility
- CENTER, PA, 1/26/13: A woman and her boyfriend were found dead this morning in an apparent murder-suicide in Center. State police in Butler said they were dispatched to the 5100 block of Brown Road at 1:40 a.m. after reports of a shooting. They found the body of Sonja Kummer, 45, lying outside on the ground dead from shotgun wounds, and while searching the property discovered Dean Vaughn Clawson, 49, dead from a self-inflicted shotgun wound, police said. Both lived at the Brown Road home. Police told KDKA-TV that Ms. Kummer was packing her car to leave the home when she was shot.
- HOLLIDAYSBURG, PA, 1/26/13: Friar accused of sexual abuse in two states shoots himself
- INDIANAPOLIS, IN, 1/26/13: A 20-year-old woman, identified Sunday as Dymun Johnson, is dead after a fight with her boyfriend resulted in her being shot and killed Saturday afternoon on the northwest side of the city.
- IRONTON, OH, 1/27/13: Sheriff Jeff Lawless says 43-year-old Roger Crisp, of Waterloo, had been in an argument for several days with his daughter prior to the shooting at her house at 2718 County Road 181 in Ironton. Lawless says officers responded to a call of a man driving by and firing shots at the house. Police tried to pull Crisp over after spotting his vehicle in the area but Crisp didn't stop until he pulled into the driveway of the house. Lawless says Crisp then got out of his car, fired two shots at the house with his handgun, pulled out a high-powered rifle and fired three shots at police officers Crisp then got back in his car and shot himself.
- KELLER, TX, 1/27/13: Two people were found dead in Keller in what police were investigating as a murder-suicide Sunday. Police say the incident happened in the 1500 block of Chase Oaks Drive, near Denton Highway and North Tarrant Parkway in Keller. Officers found a man and a woman dead from gunshot wounds. Both were in their 60s, police said. Two dogs were also shot, police said.
- PORT HUENEME, CA, 1/28/13: Naval Criminal Investigative Services were called about 7.am. when a 73-year-old Army retiree shot himself to death in the main commons area inside the Sunkist gate entrance, said Kimberly Gearhart, public affairs officer. The gate was the only one open on weekends, and the man drove in and parked his car near the Navy Exchange and the commissary area of the base, Gearhart said. He stepped out of his car and shot himself.
- SAN CLEMENTE, CA, 1/28/13: A 37-year-old man who was found dead in a greenbelt area is believed to have committed suicide, authorities said. The man's body was found along Camino de los Mares at Diamante, said Lt. Roland Chacon of the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Deputies were called to the area at 6:44 a.m. after receiving reports that the man had shot himself.
- ANNAPOLIS, MD, 1/28/13: Police in Anne Arundel County say they are investigating a shooting that left a woman in critical condition at the hospital and the shooter dead. They say the incident happened in the 300 block of Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis around 1 a.m. According to police, Calvin Cofield, 50, went to his estranged wife Tracy West's workplace and shot her. Cofield then shot himself. West is in critical condition at the hospital. Police are still investigating.
- PARSIPPANY, NJ, 1/28/13: The retired Caldwell police officer, 46, shot his wife, 43, and then himself in their Medford Road home, two high-level law-enforcement officials told The Star-Ledger.
- LA PINE, OR, 1/28/13: An 86-year-old man in Central Oregon has been arrested for investigation of murder after his 83-year-old wife was shot dead. The Deschutes County Sheriff's office says Lawrence Loeffler is suspected of shooting Betty Loeffler on Monday after domestic dispute.
- BOSSIER CITY, LA, 1/28/13: Bossier City Police have released the names of the husband and wife involved in an apparent murder-suicide Monday at their Bossier residence. Police say Roy Mitchell, 86, and Margaret Mitchell, 84, were found just before 10 a.m. by a family member who arrived at the home and found them unresponsive inside. The incident occurred in the 2400 block of Belmont Boulevard. Detectives say Roy Mitchell shot and killed his wife with a handgun before shooting himself. Detectives recovered a weapon at the scene.
- WALDORF, MD, 1/29/13: When officers arrived, they made entry into the house and discovered a male and female with gunshot wounds. The male, 68, was flown to a hospital and admitted in critical condition. The female, Linda Lindsey, 64, was pronounced dead on the scene; a firearm was recovered by her side. The motive for the shooting remains under investigation but the case is an apparent attempt murder and suicide.
- ELMONT, NY, 1/29/13: A couple argued bitterly over the wife's weight loss and socializing in the months before police say he shot her to death at their Elmont home, then turned the gun on himself, neighbors and family said Tuesday.
- LAS VEGAS, NV, 1/29/13: Bobby, 41, collapsed in the backyard. He, his sister Bonnie Scherrer, 38, and their mother Linda McCarty, 62, were all found dead after the shooting stopped. Neighbors and Las Vegas police identified the shooter as Jim McCarty, 54, Linda's husband and Bobby and Bonnie's stepfather. After killing his family - including the dog - McCarty turned the gun on himself, according to police. He was the only survivor of the apparent murder-attempted suicide, and was hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday morning.
- ANDERSON, SC, 1/29/13: Michael Montepara remained in critical condition Tuesday afternoon at AnMed Health Medical Center. Montepara shot himself in the head Monday in his home on South McDuffie Street Extension, according to investigators from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.
- GRAPEVINE, TX, 1/30/13: A Grapevine man pointed a shotgun at police officers and then shot himself in the head Wednesday night, police said. The 32-year-old man was in critical condition Thursday at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.
- OXNARD, CA, 1/30/13: Police say the shooting deaths of two women and a man in Oxnard may be a murder-suicide. A woman in her 40s and another in her 20s were found on a walkway and inside a townhome late Wednesday afternoon on the west side of the Ventura County city. A half-hour later, officers found a man in his 50s dead in the backyard of a home about two miles away.
- LOUISVILLE, KY, 1/30/13: A Radcliff man involved in a standoff with police Wednesday took his own life after he was questioned by police about a break-in. According to a news release from Kentucky State Police, autopsy results indicate 47-year-old Michael Strand died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
- TIMONIUM, MD, 1/30/13: A man shot and killed himself Thursday evening at a Timonium gun shop and firing range, according to Baltimore County police spokesman Cpl. John Wachter.
- ABBEVILLE, LA, 1/30/13: The sheriff says Macade Harrington, who lived in Kaplan, traveled to his father's Abbeville home, where the two fought. Couvillon said the fight led to the fatal shooting.