In the ongoing gun control debate, the same argument often comes up: nobody gets shot at the gun range. Here are five incidents of deaths, both accidental and intentional, at gun ranges across the U.S.
Death at the Gun Range: Five Firearm Deaths in Firearm-Friendly Environments
Marie Moore | “I had to send my son to Heaven and myself to Hell,” read one of Marie Moore’s suicide notes, discovered too late. On April 7, 2009, the 44-year-old Casselberry, Fla., woman and her son, Mitchell Moore, 20, spent some time firing rented handguns at the Shoot Straight firing range. The gun range security camera show Mitchell Moore preparing to shoot at a target when his mother rapidly approaches him from behind and shoots him once in the back of the head. Moore then turned the gun on herself. According to police reports, Marie Moore had a history of mental illness and had previously attempted suicide. Still, there were no warnings before she murdered her son. The AP reported that the Moores spent much of the time before the murder-suicide enjoying themselves and speaking with other patrons of the gun club. In her suicide note, Moore claimed that she could have spared her son, but felt she had to “save” her son. “Hopefully when I die,” continued, “there will 1,000 years of peace.” Shoot Straight Manager, Larry Anderson, told the AP “Sometimes, like what happens Sunday, you have no control. There’s nothing you can do to prevent it.”
Todd Getgen | Attorney Todd Getgen, 42, was taking his custom AR-15 to the range to squeeze of a few rounds. It would be the last thing he ever did. After arriving at a shooting range in Cumberland County, Pa., Getgen was seen by Raymond Peake, 66, a former prison corrections officer intent on overthrowing the US government. According to ABC 27, Peake coveted Getgen’s rifle. So Peake murdered Getgen at the shooting range, filling him with so many bullet fragments that the coroner who conducted his autopsy was unable to list the injuries in sequence. Until pleading no contest and receiving a life sentence, Peake had claimed that Getgen was already dead when he arrived at the gun range – Peake claimed that he was only taking Getgen’s rifle in order to help arm an insurrectionary group committed to rising up against the government.
Christopher Bizilj | “It’s all legal & fun — No permits or licenses required!!!!,” read the Westfield Sportsman’s Club October 2008 advertisement for their “Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo.” What was billed as a weekend of supervised family fun at this Westfield, Mass., gun range turned into a family nightmare when 8 year old Christopher Bizilj accidently shot himself in the head while firing an Uzi submachine gun. The boy’s father was supporting his son from behind as he started firing the weapon. As Bizilj pulled the trigger, “the front end of the weapon went up with the backfire and he ended up receiving a round in his head,” police Lt. Hipolito Nunez told the AP. In addition to his father, Bizilj was being supervised by one of the club’s certified instructors when he inflicted the lethal injury on himself. Edward Fleury, 53, Former Pelham, Mass., Police Chief and one of the show organizers, was charged involuntary manslaughter for allowing Bizilj access to the Uzi. Fleury was acquitted in January 2011.
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Jared King | Twenty-nine year old Jared King seemed like any other regular at San Antonio’s Bullet Hole gun range. But after spending some time at the range on October 25, 2011, King turned out to be radically different from his fellow shooters. According to My San Antonio, King suddenly turned his gun on himself. Although the suicide was not captured by the range’s internal security cameras, the gun range management claims that King acted swiftly and that, “Unfortunately, there was nothing anyone could do to stop him.”
Jeffrey Lane Dudney | Jeffrey Lane Dudney didn’t have much to lose. Dudney, 42, of Tampa, Fla., was already facing attempted murder charges on April 13, 2007, when he entered Shooting Sports Inc. ABC News reported that Dudney intended to steal a firearm from the shooting range and gun store before fleeing the state. When a store patron confronted Dudney, he brandished his stolen weapon and took five people, including the store’s proprietor, hostage. Over the next ten hours, the hostages endured Dudney’s erratic, violent behavior. “Every two or three minutes, he was threatening to start shooting people one by one,” Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said. “He was very agitated, very amped up.” Near 3 a.m., after releasing two of his hostages, Dudney committed suicide. According to authorities, “Dudney killed himself with a gunshot blast to the upper body.”