Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Vodka-drinking gun cleaner killed daughter,
and called 911

A man in Washington state told police that he accidentally shot and killed his six-year-old daughter Sunday after drinking double vodkas while cleaning guns. Stormy Peters was shot in the head and died after being flown to a hospital.

Her father, Richard Peters, was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of first-degree manslaughter, a felony and was held on $250,000 bail.

Police say Peters called 911 about 7:30 p.m. Sunday. He told police he had asked his daughter to get his Colt pistol from a nightstand. Peters said he had unloaded the weapon's magazine but that somehow the gun fired. He told a detective that he "must have" pulled the trigger. The girl was knocked to the ground and instantly turned blue.

About 20 minutes after the shooting, detectives with the Sheriff's Office went to Peters' home and arrested him.

Peters said he had been drinking "double vodkas" while he and his wife were cleaning guns. Peters, who has a concealed-weapons permit, said he didn't notice whether the hammer was cocked when the gun was fired. He told police that the gun has a double action, and had a "hair trigger," according to court documents. Peters said he was uncertain whether the girl had pulled back the slide, which would put a cartridge in the chamber.

Peters' wife told police a different story. She said she went upstairs to get the gun. She told police that Peters emptied the gun, then pulled the slide back and it fired. The woman said she didn't notice until just before the gunshot that her daughter was in the room.

The girl's 8-year-old and 3-year-old siblings were not in the room. Child Protective Services removed the other children from the home.

When deputies arrived at the home, Peters was sitting out front with a neighbor, uttering that he had "just killed his little girl." He made statements about "harming himself."

Peters told detectives he'd been handling guns since age seven, often goes shooting with friends and that all his children had handled guns. Peters told police he was "very proficient" with firearms, but that while shooting pumpkins the day after Halloween he had accidentally fired a shotgun. Peters told officers he didn't know the friend he was shooting with had handed him a loaded shotgun.

Jack-o'-lanterns often are used for target practice at post-Halloween pumpkin shoots. The shot went downrange, and no one was hurt. People there apparently talked to Peters about the incident. (info from Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

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