We have an extraordinarily long list this time around, and it took extra time to compile it and sort through it, which accounts for its late publication. New Year’s Eve, like July 4th, is like Black Friday for GunFAIL. Brand-new guns are given as gifts for Christmas (at least one of which went off and shot the gift giver this week), a little extra drinking is going on, the kids are home from school for days or even weeks at a stretch, hunting season is in full swing, and of course, there’s the “traditional” New Year’s celebratory gunfire. (Respect the culture, please.) As a result, we saw a whopping 23 kids accidentally shot last week, including eight preteens. Just two of them were hit by New Year’s Eve random gunfire, however. It was a busy week for the kids, even without that.
New Year’s Eve, of course, is in a class all by itself. As near as I could tell from available reports, five people were shot by random, celebratory gunfire in Los Angeles, CA; San Antonio, TX; Hebbronville, TX; Newport News, VA; and Gadsden, AL. New Year’s Eve revelers also blasted into at least 15 homes this week and two cars (not including four more homes fired into under other circumstances), in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia. Three people involved in celebratory gunfire incidents accidentally shot themselves, and two were accidentally shot at parties.
Six hunting GunFAIL incidents were counted, plus three recreational or target shooting accidents. Two defensive gun users accidentally wounded themselves, as well, as sometimes happens during the excitement and confusion. Two people also accidentally shot themselves while cleaning their weapons, which should never happen. And three gun owners out and about, shopping and dining with the rest of us accidentally lost some bullets this week. One who shot himself in a Walmart parking lot in Mississippi, one who accidentally fired a pistol in his pocket in a restaurant in Georgia, and a third who dropped her gun and shot another shopper in a Lowe’s in Cheyenne, WY. And lastly, we had one more family member allegedly mistaken for an intruder and shot this week.
All in all, a hell of a week, and the first one I can recall pushing the total number of accidents over 80. Without further ado, then, this week’s list, below the fold.
- AUSTIN, TX, 11/11/13: On Nov. 11, Officer Dustin Turner was completing his pre-shift inspection at APD’s south substation. While clearing his shotgun, he accidentally fired a round into the parking lot pavement. [Ed. note: if that sounds familiar to you, it’s because the last installment of GunFAIL noted that two other Austin officers had just been suspended for doing the same thing, on Nov. 12 and Nov. 18.]
- PANAMA CITY, FL, 12/21/13: On Saturday, Dec. 21, a 33-year-old St. Marks man reported being the victim of an accidental shooting in Panama City. The complainant reported that he was at a Panama City club and then attended a party at a nearby residence. During the course of the party a firearm was passed around which went off and struck the victim in the foot. Wakulla EMS responded to St. Marks and transported the victim to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. The Bay County Sheriff’s Office was notified about the incident. Deputy David Pienta, Sgt. Danny Harrell and Detective Clint Beam investigated.
- SAN ANTONIO, TX, exact date unknown: An elderly woman died after a bullet went through a wall at her East San Antonio home and hit her while she sat in a wheelchair. Officers found the body of Ruth Bateman Clay, 90, in her home on Como near Spriggsdale Thursday. Authorities say they’re looking for anyone who may have fired a gun in the area sometime before Christmas Eve. Clay was last seen alive on the December 23. It’s believed the bullet that killed Clay came from behind her home, through her bedroom wall. [Ed. note: This actually ran under the headline, “Elderly woman killed in bizarre shooting.”]
- DOLTON, IL, 12/25/13: The pregnant teen felled by a bullet to the back of her head on Christmas day was shot by her 16-year-old boyfriend and his two brothers during a botched drug deal, authorities said. Eva Casara, 17—whose baby girl survived and remained in critical condition Monday—was not the intended target, but was accidentally shot when the drug deal spiraled out of control, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The mother-to-be was “just in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong company,” Dolton Police Chief John Franklin told the newspaper. Doctors managed to save the unborn baby, who was named “Baby Doe” as she continues to fight for her life at a nearby hospital.