Suicide by Gun Demonstration


A man, whose name was not released, accidentally commits suicide Sunday in Township, Michigan. Oakland Press reports the man having done this while teaching his girlfriend about gun safety. The man wanted to show his girlfriend that guns are completely harmless when unloaded, so he held a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, unknowing of the bullet in the chamber. This gun demonstration fatally wounded the victim in what the coroner reports as a suicide.

When the Oakland County Sheriff deputies arrived, the girl was performing CPR on the victim. The man did not pull the trigger once before falling dead, but twice before, with two different guns he used to show his girlfriend this demonstration.

Undersheriff Michael McCabe says the situation is unique because he has never heard a person demonstrating gun safety by pulling the trigger with the barrel directed at their head.

The girlfriend claims the man had been drinking most of the day, but the coroner’s report did not initially reveal a blood alcohol level. Three children were also in the home, but were not witness to the incident, or biological offspring to the victim. Other incidences of this kind of accident have been seen before on more than one occasion. Close to this time one year ago, an 18-year-old man located, at the time, in St. Petersburg, Florida put a gun to his head to show how safe the weapon was and accidentally killing himself. Alexander Xavier Shaw died in front of family and friends, police reported.

Shaw’s grandparents, friends, and uncle were on the back patio of the property talking when Shaw showed them the .38 caliber revolver. The family reported Shaw had told them just prior to the shooting that he keeps one round out of the firing chamber to prevent an accidental shooting. This is just one more of several “gun demonstrations” which have led to accidental suicide. Shaw’s father was coincidentally shot and killed June 18 during a home invasion and robbery.

In 2012 there was another incident where a 22-year-old accidentally shot himself in Huron, Michigan. Deputies reported Richard M. McLean appeared to have died from a handgun discharge to his head. 25-year-old Caseville resident, and a parolee, claimed to be a witness. The victim was showing the witness a demonstration on “double-safety.”

Other family members heard the gunshot, but were not witness to his death. The crime laboratory analyzed samples of what appeared to be bath salts, heroin, or methamphetamine around the room, but the initial reports were inconclusive. Evidence was confiscated along with a hazardous material cleanup team to “secure the scene.”

Sheriff Kelly Hanson reported it appeared the victim died from an accident, despite the heavy interrogation of the witness who said the victim pulled the trigger twice before the gun fired. This was not just a suicide, but a gun demonstration that had gone awry. On an interesting note, The Week reports eight famous people in history who had accidentally shot themselves in their past: Plaxico Burress, Al Capone, Lil’ Wayne, Curly Howard, Peter Fonda, Alan Ladd, Terry Kath, and Jennifer O’Neill, proving accidents are not discriminatory.

By Lindsey Alexander

Huffington Post
St. Petersburg Tribune
Oakland Press
The Week

One Response to "Suicide by Gun Demonstration"

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