STPETERSBURG, FL – On Saturday, 51-year-old Pamela Beck accidentally shot her friend in the leg while standing in line inside a Florida Starbucks.
Police say Beck and a friend, 38-year-old Amie Peterson, were getting coffee at the Tyrone Square Mall when Beck set her bags down in order to pay for her drink. According to St. Petersburg Police spokesman Mike Puetz, Beck’s purse “hit the ground hard,” and a fully loaded .25 caliber semi-automatic handgun at the bottom of the handbag fired, striking Peterson above the knee.
Peterson was treated and released at a nearby trauma center.
Beck told police that she didn’t even realize the gun was in her purse. She said her father had given her the gun about a year ago for protection, and she’d placed it inside a spare purse. Before going on a shopping trip with Peterson, she switched purses and forgot the gun was at the bottom, loaded with six rounds and one in the chamber.
Beck does not have a concealed carry weapons permit, but Beck says she never intended to carry the gun in the first place.…Continue Reading
Burkesville, KY – Authorities in Kentucky say 2-year-old Caroline Starks died after being accidentally shot by her 5-year-old brother, who was playing with a .22-caliber rifle he had been given as a gift.
Sparks was shot by her brother inside their home just after 1 p.m. Tuesday. Sparks was rushed to the hospital where she would later be pronounced dead.
The children’s mother was at home when the shooting occurred, and the gun was a gift the boy received last year. It’s a Crickett rifle manufactured by Keystone Sporting Arms, and marketed towards children as My First Rifle.
The rifle was being kept in a corner and the family did not realize a shell had been left inside it. Cumberland County Coroner Gary White said the shooting will be ruled accidental. “Just one of those crazy accidents,” White said.
Although I’m sure some media outlets will hone in on the fact that their are rifles for children, I don’t have an issue with it – especially in areas where hunting is prevalent.
But this isn’t really a “crazy accident” as much as it was an “accident waiting to happen.” Had the most basic of gun safety rules been followed – treat all guns as if they are loaded, don’t point gun at non-target, keep finger off trigger – this family would not be going through the Hell they are currently experiencing.…Continue Reading
BALTIMORE, MD – Back in March 2012 we reported on the two kids, ages 12 and 13, who accidentally shot and killed their friend, 13-year-old Monae Turnage. They were arrested after they tried to hide the girl’s body under some trash in an alley. On Monday, the younger boy’s mother, 49-year-old Veronica Alford, pleaded guilty to helping the boys move the girl’s body.
For those of you who do not remember, Monae Turnage was inside a home playing with two the boys when someone brought out a AK-47 .22 caliber rifle. Reportedly, Alford’s 13-year-old son accidentally discharged the rifle and Monae was killed by a single gunshot wound to the chest.
The two boys panicked and dragged Monae, with the help of Alford, out of the house and into a nearby alley where they hid her body under some bags of trash. When she never arrived home, Monae’s family called police and began searching the neighborhood. Monae’s brother would eventually see her leg sticking out from some trash in the alley directly behind the house she had been visiting.…Continue Reading
Parkside, PA – Police have charged 42-year-old Michele Wanko with involuntary manslaughter after they say she accidentally shot and killed her husband during a drunken gun training exercise in the basement of the couple’s home.
Police were called to the couple’s home early Saturday morning after receiving a frantic 911 call from Michele. Inside the home, at the bottom of the basement stairs, was the dead body of Michele’s husband, 43-year-old Michael Wanko.
He was rushed to the hospital suffering from a single gunshot wound to the chest, where he was pronounced dead.
Michele told police that she and Michael had been drinking vodka and lemonade for about six hours when Michael decided to show her how to shoot some of the guns he kept locked in a safe in the basement in case someone ever broke in while he was away.
So while the couple’s two children, ages 5 and 2, slept upstairs, Michael began showing Michele how to properly handle the guns.
“He took several of the weapons out, handguns and was demonstrating to her how the weapon worked as far as taking the magazine out, making sure it was safe, and how to pull the slide back,” said Parkside Police Chief John Egan.…Continue Reading
Columbus, GA – A 15-year-old with severe anger management issues got so angry with his parents for making him do chores instead of looking up a Bible verse, that he shot them both.
The incident happened on Friday, but started the day before when Kristi Lynn and Randal Askevich told their son to stop what he was doing and to complete a household chore.
The teen had been tasked with taking an old bed comforter to Goodwill, but the teen had his own, personal agenda at the top of his to-do list.
He was trying to do the Lord’s work and locate a Bible verse for a girl who had told him she wanted to be “saved.” (I really hope it was this one, as it is one of my favorites)
After much nagging, the teen finally did as he was instructed, but he was pissed. He stewed over it the rest of the day and into the next day while at school. He finally came to the conclusion that his only option was to shoot both of his parents.…Continue Reading
OREGON CITY, OR – Shayla Shonneker died after her mother’s live-in boyfriend, 32-year-old Joseph Wolters, accidentally shot her has he practiced holstering his loaded gun.
Oregon City police say 9-year-old Shayla Shonneker was playing in her backyard while Wolters was inside the home practicing with his firearm, having recently been hired as an armed security guard with an armored transport company.
As Wolters was holstering and un-holstering his loaded gun, it went off. Out of all the paths this bullet could have traversed, this one traveled through a wall of the home, and into Shonneker’s face 50 yards away.
A LifeFlight helicopter rushed Shonneker to Oregon Health & Science University Hospital, where she died. Wolters, a decorated Iraq War veteran, cooperated with police during an interview with detectives. No word on if he will be facing criminal charges.
Gladstone School District Superintendent Bob Stewart said the district has activated its crisis-response team and has established a safe room for both adults and students at John Wetten Elementary School, where Shayla had been a student since kindergarten.…Continue Reading
SALINA, KN — According to Saline County Sheriff Glen Kochanowski, 7-year-old Gavin Brummett died after accidentally shooting himself twice while shooting a gun with his father.
At around 5:45 p.m. Friday, Gavin, his brother and their father were out shooting a Master Piece Arms semi-automatic 9mm handgun. At some point, Gavin’s father said he heard two shots in rapid succession. He turned to see that Gavin had accidentally shot himself two times.
Gavin was rushed to the hospital, then flown by air ambulance to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, but he would die from his injuries an hour after shooting himself. Investigators they believe Gavin was the one who fired the fatal shots, but their investigation is ongoing and are awaiting the results of an autopsy to be performed today.
Family and friends of the family have created a memorial page on Facebook, as well as a campaign to help raise money to cover the cost of Gavin’s funeral. At the time I write this, they have raised $3,600.
One of the fundraisers organizer’s states, “Every dollar given will allow the Brummett family to take just a little bit longer to be together without the burdens of having to go into work.…Continue Reading
Toms River, NJ – According to Toms River police Chief Michael Mastronardy, 6-year-old Brandon Holt has died after being shot in the head by a 4-year-old friend.
On Monday evening, Brandon was playing in the backyard of the 4-year-old’s home when the younger boy went inside, then came back out with a .22 caliber rifle.
A shot went off and Brandon, who was standing about 15 yards away, was struck in the head. The boy was rushed to the hospital where he was initially listed in stable condition, but died on Tuesday after his condition steadily deteriorated.
Mastronardy called the shooting a tragic incident, but added that the Atlantic County prosecutor’s office currently investigating the incident to determine whether anyone should be facing criminal charges.
“I had just been telling my sister how nice it is to see kids playing together and enjoying themselves, and then this happens,” said Debi Coto, a neighbor. “I’m sad for the children involved and their families, but I’m angry with whoever owns that gun and allowed a little child to get hold of it.”
It would be very hypocritical of me to blast the owners of some the dogs we feature on this site without doing the same for some of the gun owners.…Continue Reading
Janet Strickland, 64, was charged with one count each of first-degree murder and armed robbery with a firearm after her husband, William Strickland, 72, was killed in a hail of bullets in front of their home by his 19-year-old grandson, whose name is also William Strickland.
Janet Strickland, who knows about doing things the Chicago way, was not present at her bond hearing on Saturday. She was being held at a local hospital where she was being treated for lung disease and high blood pressure, according to the Chicago Tribune. Her bail was set at $500,000.
In full-on Capone mode, granny Strickland plotted with her teenage grandson, an admitted member of the Black P. Stones street gang, to kill her husband because she was “sick” of Strickland and wanted him dead, said Assistant State’s Attorney Jacqueline Kwilos.
“They discussed on numerous occasions killing the victim,” Kwilos said during the hearing.…Continue Reading
HARRISBURG, NC - On Friday, Anthony Hardy shot and killed his neighbors on either side of his home before killing himself after a police standoff.
Police say they received a 911 call from the wife of 42-year-old Daniel Thomas Kirchner, who I was informed I may have went to high school with, stating Hardy was shooting at her husband in the backyard.
“He came into my backyard and started shooting at my husband and my other neighbor,” she tells the 911 operator.
When asked what prompted the shooting, she says she does not know. She says her husband was outside working in the backyard when Hardy walked over and started shooting, hitting both her husband and another neighbor, 64-year-old Gary Wade Stocks.
When she realizes Hardy has left, she tried to perform CPR on her husband, noticing he had been shot in the stomach, but it is too late. Both he and Stocks were pronounced dead at the scene.
When police arrived, they found Hardy was back inside his home and refused to come out, leading to a police standoff in which gunfire was reportedly exchanged. When Cabarrus County SWAT team members finally made entry into Hardy’s home hours later, they found him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.…Continue Reading
CHARLESTON, WV — Police in West Virginia have arrested 42-year-old Judith Kowaleski after they say she shot and killed another woman after their children fought on a school bus.
Police responding to a shooting call found Kowaleski and her aunt, Barbara Harrington, performing CPR on 42-year-old Elizabeth Slagle, who was lying in the middle of the street. Slagle was pronounced dead after being rushed to the hospital suffering from a single gunshot wound to the chest.
Kowaleski told police that her child had got into an altercation with Slagle’s child on the school bus earlier, and that Slagle had called her that day upset about the incident. The two women agreed to meet at the end of the road to hash out their differences in a diplomatic, rational way – but Kowaleski admitted she brought along a handgun just in case.
The three women met at the end of the road and diplomatic discussions soon turned to arguing. According to Kowaleski, she had the gun in her hand from the time she walked out of the house until she met Slagle.…Continue Reading
Tallahasee, FL – Police say 22-year-old Jenna Porter scored a hole in two at the Hilaman Golf Course after using a handgun to kill her 3-year-old daughter then herself.
Golfers playing at the public golf course heard two gunshots around 5pm Tuesday and went to investigate. That’s when they found Porter and her daughter, 3-year-old Scarlett Porter, dead in a grassy area between the golf course and the apartment complex where the two lived.
The golfers called 911 and stayed with the bodies until police arrived on the scene. Police say a handgun was found at the scene and that Porter shot her daughter once in the head before turning the gun on herself.
“This is a terrible, tragic set of circumstances,” Leon County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Lt. James McQuaig said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those left behind because of this tragic set of circumstances.”
One neighbor was shocked at Porter’s actions, stating that she and her daughter “seemed like normal people.”
“It made me feel sad because she is lying on the ground and there’s nothing she could do for herself … and that’s kind of shocking,” said one witness who lived at the apartments.…Continue Reading
Police are investigating a shooting in which 34-year-old Christopher Stanlane accidentally shot and killed his 10-year-old son while cleaning his shotgun.
On Sunday afternoon, Stanlane was at his home wiping down a shotgun when it accidentally went off. Unfortunately, his son was sitting in front of him watching television when it happened, and the poor kid took a shotgun blast to the back of the head.
Stanlane dropped the gun and rushed his eight-year-old daughter out of the room. His wife, who was cooking dinner at the time, called 911. Paramedics pronounced Christopher Stanlane Jr. dead on scene.
I don’t know if any of you have seen what a shotgun blast does to the human head, but I can only imagine what that room looked like after that gun went off. If there’s a silver lining to this kid getting shot, it’s that he didn’t feel a thing.
Captain Anthony Thompson says the Robeson County District Attorney will ultimately decide what if any charges will be filed against Stanlane. Robert Simmons, the boy’s uncle, said the boy’s parents were “in shock, trying to come to terms with what happened.”
I cannot imagine the pain the Stanlane family is going through right now.…Continue Reading
SOUTHGATE, MI – Tyler Nichols, an eight grader at Davidson Middle School, used a .40 caliber handgun to commit suicide in one of the school’s bathrooms Thursday morning.
Another student discovered the 13-year-old’s body before classes began at about 8:15 a.m. The student notified a teacher who then called police.
Tyler was taken to the hospital but died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head from a .40-caliber Glock that was legally registered to a family member. Police said bullying did not seem to be a motivating factor, although they are continuing to investigate.
A suicide note was found with the Tyler, and did contain the name of another student, but police said it was more of a goodbye rather than the boy having an issue with the person mentioned. Tyler said that taking his own life was a way out from the “drama” in his life, but didn’t give any specifics as to what the drama was about.
The superintendent says they have a district-wide bullying policy and said there is no indication that Tyler was being bullied.…Continue Reading
Sterling, VA - After sneaking out of his house to go drinking with friends, 16-year-old Caleb Gordley was shot to death a few hours later after he mistakenly entered the wrong home.
Police say after drinking with friends Saturday night, Caleb was dropped off at the upscale neighborhood he and his family had lived in for only a year. After hopping a fence at around 2:40 in the morning, Caleb entered a home he thought was his, but was actually his neighbor’s home two doors down.
The homeowner, Donald Wilder, was alerted to someone in his house after a security alarm was triggered when Caleb entered the home through a back window. Wilder called 911 to report an intruder, but ended up shooting Caleb as the teen made his way up the stairs to where Wilder and his family were sleeping.
The two homes are similar looking, especially in the back, and are located in a neighborhood populated by McMansions. Investigators feel that Caleb had no ill-intent when he entered Wilder’s home, but that his inebriated state had him confused as to what house he was entering.…Continue Reading
Anchorage, Alaska - Police say Daniel Pirtle, a double amputee with metal, prosthetic legs, went into a Walmart and shot a manager after getting into an argument over Pirtle’s unrestrained dog.
Police say that on Saturday afternoon, 45-year-old Daniel Pirtle went inside a crowded Walmart in a motorized cart, accompanied by his unrestrained service dog. Pirtle got into an argument with the store’s assistant manager, 33-year-old Jason Mahi, after Mahi asked Pirtle to restrain his dog.
The argument escalated to the point that Pirtle pulled out a gun and shot Mahi in the stomach. Afterwards, Pirtle navigated the motorized cart through the aisles, making his way towards the store’s entrance. He was apprehended by police near the front of the store where officers took a handgun from him, as well as his legs, before placing him in a police car.
Witnesses said Mahi was conscious after being shot. “He said, ‘I can’t feel my feet.’ He just kept talking about his kids,” said a patron who rushed to Mahi’s aid. “‘My kids, my son,’ that’s basically all he said.…Continue Reading
DEFIANCE COUNTY, OH – The shooting death of a man in 2003, once considered accidental, is now being called a murder orchestrated by Judith Hawkey, a woman who prosecutors say forced her 10-year-old stepson to shoot his father to death.
On Nov. 3, 2003, police responded to an accidental shooting call at the home of Robert Breininger and his then wife, Judith Hawkey. Police would find Robert dead in a bedroom from a single gunshot wound to the head. It was claimed that the shooting was accidental and involved Breininger’s 10-year-old son.
While the death was ruled accidental, a recent investigation has prosecutors charging Hawkey with murder. Prosecutors allege Hawkey tortured and abused the 10-year-old over a three year period, and forced the boy to kill his own father.
No word on what information led to the case being re-opened a decade later, but a grand jury indicted Hawkey this month. ”The information on what caused the investigation to be reopened as a homicide is not something I can comment on publicly,” said Defiance County Prosecuting Attorney Morris Murray.…Continue Reading
MOSES LAKE, WA - Police have charged 14-year-old Nathon Brooks with two counts of attempted first-degree murder after they say he got angry with his parents over being grounded, and then shot them both.
Moses Lake police say the shooting happened Friday night at the family’s home after Nathon got upset with his parents after they grounded him for being tardy from school. Part of his punishment was that he could use no electronic devices, which included his ability to play video games.
Nathan vented his frustration that night as he listened to music and contemplated killing his parents. He ended up taking a .22 caliber handgun from the family’s gun cabinet, loading it, and sneaking into his parents’ bedroom as they slept.
He first shot his father, 38-year-old Jonathan Brooks, in the back of the head. He then shot his mother, 39-year-old Elizabeth Brooks, in the face. He fired at his father again as the man rolled out of bed, then fired at his mother two more times when she tried to sit up.…Continue Reading
WHITEFISH, MT – Gregory Rodriguez, the host of Sports Channel’s “A Rifleman’s Journal”, was shot to death by a woman’s husband, who then turned the gun on himself.
According to police Rodriguez, 43, died Thursday in the town of Whitefish after being shot by 41-year-old Wayne Bengston, who apparently didn’t like the fact that the TV personality was visiting Bengston’s wife.
Rodriguez was in Montana on business and at the home of the woman’s mother when Bengston showed up and placed Rodriguez on the end of a gun he was not accustomed to. After shooting and killing Rodriguez, Bengston beat his wife before taking their 2-year-old son to a relative’s home.
Police would find Bengston’s truck parked in his driveway and would find Bengston inside his home dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Police say they do not believe that Rodriguez’s relationship with the woman was a romantic one. She works for a firearms manufacturer and met Rodriguez, a married father of two children, at a trade show and formed a casual relationship.…Continue Reading
Clark, WY - Two teens, 19-year-old Stephen Hammer and 18-year-old Tanner Vanpelt, are facing 11 felony counts after police say they killed a woman and her elderly parents in order to steal a car.
According to charging documents, Hammer and Vanpelt went to the home of 40-year-old Ildiko Freitas, who lived their with her husband and her parents, 69-year-old Janos Volgyesi and 70-year-old Hildegard Volgyesi. The teens had intended intent to steal Freitas Audi and flee to Utah, but something went horribly wrong.
Freitas, who knew Hammer from when he once lived in the area, argued with the boys, leading to Vanpelt shooting and killing her. The affidavit alleges Hammer found Hildegard Volgyesi in the basement and shot her. When Vanpelt went into the basement he saw Volgyesi was still alive, and shot her two more times. Vanpelt then encountered Janos Volgyesi in the garage and shot the man twice in the back.
Neighbors reported seeing the teens arrive at the home in a white Taurus, and watched as they entered the front door.…Continue Reading