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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news September 30, 2014

8/13/2013 11:42:00 AM
Prescott Valley Police investigate shooting death

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.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013
Article comment by: Gus Patrick

Wimper Fi - Always Wimpy? No, I know..Always Whining!

Funny how you doubt the validity of my real name (I know you where being sarcastic), yet don't question the validity of my military service. Oh well, you must be just another member of the lack of character and integrity club. Say hi to Coyote at your next meeting.

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013
Article comment by: Wimper Fi

TO: Gus Patrick (if that's your real name...)

21 years in the Marine Corps explains A LOT about the tone, content, and slant of your posts. If I happen to accidentally read any in the future, I'll certainly keep that in mind.

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: Give'm Hell Harry

Thanks Gus, for telling it like it is! And thanks for your 21 years serving our country.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Gus Patrick

"I'm about done with this" - then simply stop commenting.

As for your lying - I don't have the time to go back and show how you have contradicted yourself in other comments on other articles.
As for my comment about giving you to much credit - you have no honor, character, nor integrity.
And - I lived at 519 W. Gurley St. (the house was eventually torn down in the summer of 1983), I graduated PHS in 1983, I currently reside not to far from Taylor Hicks Elementary School and my 21 years in the Marine Corps taught me far more about proper weapons handling than your narrow mind can comprehend (p.s. all my preceding is verifiable).

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Clary Knowles

While you guys are arguing politics, some woman just shot her husband in the chest. Just a 54 year old innocent, never knew the barrel of the gun was where the bullet comes out? If this is left as just another 'accident', it's a sad day for lots of husbands in this County.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Coyote Contraire™

Yeah, yeah -- we've already seen your 'real name' rant many times, your crowing about using your real name, and your baseless attribution of cowardice to people who use pseudonyms. It's become tedious. (Should I use the burning-cross-on-the-lawn 'joke-in-bad-taste' again?)

It's also "very easy to exaggerate and out right (sic) lie" when using your real name. Heard of a guy named Richard Nixon or one named Bill Clinton? They found it easy.

What do you think I exaggerated? The description of the moving box? Or did I just make up the whole shebang -- the derringer, my friend, that I lived in Arizona in the '60s, that somewhere there's a kitchen wall with a patched-up bullet hole in it?

It's also easy (and convenient) to call someone a liar if you just happen to feel like it. For example, I doubt you grew up in Arizona. You seem so infected by that Californian anti-gun mentality you're probably really from Berkeley or Davis. Needles?

"...to (sic) much credit for who you really are"? What's that supposed to mean? (No doubt I'm just soliciting more name-calling with this question.)

I'm about done with this.


Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Gus Patrick

Hey Coyote, as I have said before, at least I have the guts to put my name to my comments and not hide behind a pseudonym. It is very easy to exaggerate and out right lie when talking from the darkness of anonymity.

But hey, maybe giving you to much credit for who you really are!

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: High Tech Gun?

Was this shotgun a newfangled type that fires at the touch of a hand anywhere on it, like radios and lamps and such? Because otherwise someone's finger had to be on that trigger and it surely wouldn't be the dead guy's.

I don't care how 'familiar' one is with guns or not, everyone knows it's only the trigger that actually fires it. Sadly, even children know that.

She would have been better off claiming she was 'standing her ground'.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Coyote Contraire�

Okay, Gus,
We're not gonna agree on this gun thing. And I have no negligence to "own up to".

(BTW, I wrote "60s", not "late '60s". You didn't read what I wrote. Happens a lot around here. Think they call it "emotional comprehension". It was the very early '60s, actually -- not that it makes any diff.)

Wanna fight about religion next? My god's better'n your god?


Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Veritas Semper

Wow, how did this become a political discussion? Negligence (or worse) has nothing to do with politics...all politicians are negligent or worse.
This was either a case of amazingly poor firearm handling or something more insidious. At face value, based on the reporting, something sounds fishy. Whatever the underlying cause, the shotgun didn't decide to shoot someone...guns never do.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: @ Hogan and other intense that debate here

Would it surprise you to meet a democrat (in fact pretty far left liberal) who....GASP...owns a gun? And believes in the right to own a gun? And enjoys target shooting? And will use it to protect myself and my family if needed? Believe it or not, that's me. Our species does exist. WHY must you make every opinion about politics? Please do not assume you know my politics and everything about me based on how I feel about guns. You will be wrong with me as with many others.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: ok detectives

!!!!! Stop watching so much t.v. Even our daily courier commentors render truth to the fact that you are guilty until proven innocent. You all just want excitement. Too long in a too smal town.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Gus Patrick

Yes Coyote, it IS negligence on the part of any gun owner if they leave a loaded gun ANYPLACE another person can get their hands on it and discharge it.

As for your statement about Arizona in the late '60's, well since I have lived here my entire life, including the "late '60's", I say you are full of...well, you know.

Just own up to YOUR negligence in regard to your little pee-shooter and your "friend". It was not his fault you had a loaded gun "in a box, under other things he had to rummage through to find" (kinda makes the lame argument of having it loaded "in case I needed it" sound pretty stupid, just as your other scenarios of "a closed briefcase or zipped-up carry-on bag"). Because,it is simply idiotic for a responsible gun owner to transport a loaded weapon, even in a holster, floating around in a moving box, briefcase, or zipped-up carry-on bag! If you are wanting to have a loaded gun for your protection and it ain't on your person, it ain't doing you any good, loaded or not!

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Coyote Contraire�

Tom Von Deck,
I recently saw a documentary about this:
The Remington 700 bolt-action rifle was, for a time, rarely (and allegedly) cursed with the characteristic of releasing the firing pin SOMETIMES upon the safety being switched off. No finger needed to be near the trigger. It was rare and not all of them, even from the same batch, had this 'flaw'.

Interestingly, a factory engineer had warned that the design could harbor this problem but was ignored by management to realize cost savings (and gee what's new?) The Wikipedia article has some interesting details.

This is the only occurrence of a "self-firing" weapon I've heard about, though there could well be others. Anybody?

The very first things you teach a newbie is to assume "every gun is loaded" and that you NEVER point the muzzle at a person (unless you intend to shoot them). Surprising if Mr. Wingate hadn't already communicated this to his wife. Or maybe she forgot.


Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

I still don't understand the negligence thing. This sounds like a serious malfunction. Maybe not explaining to her where not to point it could be pretty negligent if she had no experience. If it was an accidental pulling of the trigger, that should be a hint to the manufacturers.

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: Coyote Contraire™

In the first place, though it's irrelevant, he was not my roommate, but merely a friend who had popped in to visit for a few minutes. And no, I did not say, "ripping a new one". I said I went a bit nuke, and properly so.

As I said, YOU would see the kitchen wall incident as my negligence because YOU think a loaded weapon should never be transported, ostensibly should never be loaded except when actually being fired. That's your opinion, not mine and certainly not every rational person's.

In that event, my friend opened a CLOSED moving box without my permission, behind my back, and without my knowledge. He then rummaged around in the box until he stumbled across the derringer and, being without any firearm experience at all, simply pulled the trigger. He'd "never seen a real gun before."

Suppose the pistol had been in a closed briefcase or zipped-up carry-on bag? Would you then still blame the gun owner for carrying the weapon loaded? My guess is you would. My other guess is you blame the (loaded) gun's owner whenever there's an unintended discharge, regardless of circumstance.

(When driving long distances across Arizona at night in the '60s, many thought it advisable to carry a weapon. Many still do, myself included. And, as you know, they don't work if they're not loaded.)


Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: simplistic analogy

Hey,8 out of the 10 cities have an "a" in them, your last name has an "a" in it. You are surely a Democratic leader!
The Democratic party shows more compassion towards the poor. You look at the richest communities and you will find a preponderance of republicans. Simple as that.

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: More to this story

Donnie Baker is right, this doesn't pass the smell test.

I hope the coroner's office doesn't do a quickie job on this investigation. In order for the gun to fire, a finger has to pull the trigger. In order to pull the trigger, it has to be on the trigger. Did the husband try to grab the gun from her and it fired? There is more to this story.

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: Jeff Barter

It is clear that the lunatics in this blog clearly should not own guns, or ever say the word again, EVER !!

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: @ Stephen Hogen

Just hush it already. It has nothing to do with the Republican or Democratic party. Wait until you are faced with a home invasion or attack you might wish you had a "gun". This story isn't even about a violent attack. It's a sad story that will be sorted out in the end. Sheesh people get over the Republican vs Democrat issue. Bless the family and friends that are involved. It will all come out sooner or later but as for now we don't know all of the facts and my heart goes out to the family no matter what happened.

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: Gus Patrick

So then Coyote, the incident that you told about a college roommate taking your pistol out of a moving box and putting a hole in the kitchen wall was YOUR negligence, and you owe that person an apology for, how did you put it, "ripping them a new one"? As well as the rest of us for telling that story and attempting to make it sound like it was your roommate's fault!

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: Oh. Poor Stephen Hogan. I apologize.

Perhaps you are not a troglodyte. From your expected overreaction (another common Prescott trait) re: politics or guns I hit a nerve. Your biased list is of BIG cities. Not a town of less than 40,000 souls. Apples and oranges. Want to bet we have more roll-overs, guns going of when they shouldn't, and rehab (misnomer) homes per capita than most cities? And I rather doubt that loaded hand guns and rifles are Democrats or Republicans.

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: Gus Patrick

@ Stephen Hogan and Carnivorous Buttock Fly

And do you know why law enforcement down plays them and calls them "accidents"? Because LEO are the WORST category when it comes to negligent discharges. If they played by the rules and prosecuted negligence under the law, then many LEOs would be outta work!

P.S. Just heard on the radio this morning on my way to work that a 73 year old instructor shot one of his students in the arm during a demonstration in gun safety. And guess what - NO CHARGES!

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: @ S. Hogan

What's a troglodyte and where's one even mentioned ?
But hey, you just keep on doing what you best, as it stands the score is 0 for you, 4 for the other guy, luckily for you this game is going to drag on longer than professional tic tac toe.

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: Coyote Contraire™

I, too, am generally in disagreement with you about gun issues -- but not this time. Since Mrs. Wingate was uncomfortable with firearms, and likely unfamiliar with them, and since Mr. Wingate certainly knew this and since she was acting at his behest, the error (the negligence) was his.

Had she, for instance, removed the gun from a closed box without his permission or knowledge, then the fault would lie with her. (Unless, of course, you oppose in principle the idea of keeping a firearm loaded when it's not actually in use. Then the blame would no doubt revert back to him, in your opinion.)


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