A Louisiana man was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing his childhood friend with the victim’s own gun after he picked up the pistol to admire it during a party, authorities said.
Christopher Lemley, 30, was hanging out with several friends he had over to his home in Algiers the night of Sept. 14, when he asked to see one of his visitors’ pistol, New Orleans Police told NOLA.com.
Though the gun was loaded, it did not have a bullet in the chamber when Lemley was given it, but he pulled its slide back and simultaneously squeezed its trigger, cops said witnesses told them.
One of the guests reportedly said he tried warning Lemley that he had loaded a bullet into the firearm’s chamber, but it was already too late. He fired the gun and a bullet struck the gun’s owner in the head, officials said.
The unidentified man was rushed to University Medical Center, but he died Sept. 19.
Lemley was arrested Tuesday on a count of negligent homicide.
He allegedly waived his right to remain silent and police said he spoke to them about the shooting. Investigators said Lemley told them he had drank alcohol and taken a Percocet, though he had no prescription for the pain pill, the night of the shooting. Lemley allegedly told cops he could not remember how the gun went off, NOLA.com wrote.
A Magistrate Court judge set Lemley’s bail at $15,000 on Wednesday. By Thursday, he had obtained a bond to secure his release.
Lemley’s attorney, Townsend Myers, called the shooting “a tragic accident,” and told NOLA.com that his client’s actions did not fit the definition of negligent homicide.
“They’ve been friends since they were kids,” Myers said of Lemley and the victim. “My client is absolutely distraught.”
Louisiana defines negligent homicide as an unintentional killing resulting in the “disregard of the interest of others.” If found guilty, Lemley could face up to five years in prison, but there is no mandatory minimum punishment connected to the charge.