Florida resident Justin Holt was tragically shot and killed on Monday while he and his girlfriend were playing with their friend’s handgun. Holt and his friends were dry-firing the gun at each other for fun earlier in the day. After the friends were done playing with the gun, the gun’s owner loaded the weapon and set it on a table.
Holt’s girlfriend Erin Steele never saw the gun’s owner reload the weapon. About two hours later, she picked the gun up, pointed it at Holt, and fired. Instead of the hearing the quiet click of a dry-fire, she saw her boyfriend fall to the ground in pain. She’d shot him in the chest.
Friends called 911 immediately for help.
“Please help me, ma'am!” a man is heard saying on the 911 call. “There was an accident; there was a very bad accident. Someone picked up my firearm by mistake, ma'am, and someone got shot. Please, please come.”
Boca Raton police interviewed all witnesses of the shooting. Everyone present gave the same account of events and confirmed that the shooting was absolutely an accident. Holt’s family spoke to the media and said they want no charges pressed against Steele.
“We have a lot of compassion for her because she's got to live with that, no matter what she does, for the rest of her life,” Holt's grandfather, 82-year-old Michael DiFiore, told the Sun Sentinel.
Holt’s mother says the two were very much in love, and that a tragedy like this is punishment enough for Steele.
As heartbreaking as Holt’s death is, he is far from the first person to be killed in an accidental shooting even this year. According to Policy Mic, accidental shootings killed 851 Americans in 2012.
This is the other kind of accidental shooting. The most popular method for the bumbling idiots who do these things is the old "forgetting there's a round in the chamber." But a close second is this one in which the reckless gun owner purposely shoots at someone thinking the gun is unloaded.
I find the appeals of the family members quite persuasive. I wouldn't want this woman to serve time in jail. But, I certainly wouldn't want her owning and using guns in the future, would you?