8/13/2013 1:21:00 PM Prescott Valley Police investigate shooting death
Prescott Valley Tribune
Prescott Valley police are investigating a Monday afternoon shooting death that appears to be accidental.
At about 4:30, p.m., officers responded to a residence in the 7700 block of Gentle Winds Road after a 911 call for help. Officers learned on their way to the call that a person had been shot.
Upon arrival, officers and emergency personnel found 56-year-old Gary Wingate, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to a PVPD news release, Wingate was in the residence with his 54-year-old wife. The wife reported that Mr. Wingate wanted her to hand him a 12-gauge shotgun that the couple had. Wingate was not comfortable handling a firearm but told investigators she did what her husband asked. During this process the gun discharged and struck Wingate in the upper torso.
PVPD Sgt. Brandon Bonney said that the condition of the scene and Mrs. Wingate's explanation of what happened leads to the appearance that the shooting was accidental.
"It seems like they meant to take it (the shotgun) out this weekend on a trip and he wanted her to get more familiar with it," Bonney said, adding that this death is the second fatal shooting of one family member by another in the past few months.
In June, a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot his father after finding a loaded weapon in a friend's home. Also, Bonney cited at least two incidents of late in which people shot themselves while cleaning firearms.
"It's important to remember that you should never point a weapon at something if you're not willing to destroy it," Bonney said. "And treat every weapon as if it was loaded."
Investigators are continuing to treat the incident as a homicide and the Yavapai County Medical Examiner will determine the cause and manner of death, Bonney said. Once investigations are complete, the case will be forwarded to the Yavapai County Attorney's Office for a determination of possible charges.
Bonney said a trauma intervention volunteer came to the scene to give support to Mrs. Wingate and arrange for contact with other family members.