Update: 2013-02-20: 11:26: The story, as originally presented, was not accurate. As it turns out, as with most cases, the situation was far from black and white. According to the court ruling [PDF]:
Velure said that when they returned to Kurer’s apartment, Kurer went back into his bedroom and lay on the bed. Velure observed a Taurus Judge multicaliber handgun lying on the box spring area outside the mattress. He observed that the cylinder of the Taurus Judge was loaded with three .410 shotgun rounds and three .454 handgun rounds.
Kurer got out of bed and went into the living room, where he lay down on a short couch. Velure said that he followed, taking with him the Taurus Judge handgun. Velure said that he attempted to talk Kurer into going uptown with him, but Kurer was reluctant to do so.
According to Velure, he then made some comment, something to the effect of that he is going to squeeze the trigger if Kurer did not go with him. In reply to this Kurer had made the statement, something to the effect of, go ahead. Velure had told officers how just prior to the to this particular conversation with Kurer he had opened the cylinder on the Taurus handgun and had dumped what he thought were all six rounds into this hand and then placed all six rounds into his cargo short pants that he had been wearing. He then had utilized his right hand only and had flipped the weapon, causing the cylinder on the weapon to close. He was made the assumption that all of the rounds that had been in the handgun had been removed from the cylinder and had been placed by himself into his own short pockets. Assuming the weapon was empty, he then pointed the handgun at Kurer. At the time he was about one to two feet away from Kurer. With the weapon in his right hand he had engaged the trigger on the firearm. No explosion occurred. Kurer was still lying on the shorter couch at the time and was lying on his back. Velure continued to stand over the top of him more towards the area of his feet and continued to have his right arm extended, having the handgun in his right hand. Some comment had been made about not going uptown, at which time Velure again engaged the trigger on the handgun and this time there was an explosion as the handgun fired a round that had been left in one of his cylinders. Velure did tell officers that he had observed the wound to Kurer’s chest. He saw what he described as being pellet holes and knew that it was a .410 round that had fired, striking Kurer. Velure said he then applied first aid.
Originally the story said that both individuals had been pointing, what they assumed to be, empty guns at one another. As it turns out Velure was the only person with a firearm and had, according to him, assumed it was empty. Velure did mentioned that he and Kurer had pointed empty guns at each other in the past but that information is hearsay and irrelevant to the actual murder as Velure’s own statement indicated that he was the only one in possession of a firearm at the time. In the end this story is a demonstration of the importance of the four rules of firearm safety.
Below is the original post I wrote for historical purposes.
There are four simple rules to follow in regards to firearm safety:
- All guns are always loaded.
- Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
- Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
If you follow all of these rules you’ll never encounter a negligent discharge and two of these rules must be broken for somebody to get hurt. On the other hand if you violate those rules bad this happens as demonstrated by this article:
Twenty-four-year-old Joshua Kurer was hit in the chest Monday night and later died. Twenty-six-year-old Anthony Velure was charged Wednesday with first-degree reckless homicide in St. Croix (KROY) County. Velure told police he didn’t mean to harm his friend and that he assumed the gun was empty.
You never assume a gun is unloaded, that violates rule one. You never let the muzzle cover anything you’re not willing to destroy so rule two was violated. I would talk about rules three and four being violated but after reading the following I believe the man was sure of his target and may have even kept his finger off of the trigger until his sights were on that intended target:
The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram says Velure told police he and Kurer had aimed guns at each other and pulled the trigger at least a half dozen times in the past.
There are two lessons to learn from this; firearms are not toys and Darwin will catch up to you eventually. A firearm is a deadly weapon and should be respected as such.