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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : local October 13, 2015

8/14/2013 6:00:00 AM
Prescott Valley man killed as wife hands him shotgun
The Daily Courier

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 wife. The wife, 54, reported that Mr. Wingate wanted her to hand him his 12-gauge shotgun. Mrs. Wingate told investigators she was not comfortable handling a firearm but 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 (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. Bonney also cited two recent incidents 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: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Article comment by: @ Thanks NRA

Our national gun law was set in place many years ago. Just in case you brainwashed sheep forgot what its called, ITS CALLED THE SECOND AMENDMENT.

Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Article comment by: @ Thanks NRA

Excuses excuses. Keep em coming because they keep getting more and more ridiculous.

Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Article comment by: Been there seen that

It's quite possible for a firearm to discharge by being dropped. It happens all the time, even to experienced shooters. So you people back off. And @ thanks NRA, the NRA, for all their faults (and they are legion) do stress the importance of firearm safety and offer classes to the public. And last I heard, they don't try to force people to own or use guns. They don't use violence to force other people to live their way. Gun rights are private property rights. And gun laws are enforced by the same people who enforce all the other laws that violate those rights. Don't have to worry about them accidentally ruining your life. They do it deliberately.

Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Article comment by: TO @ Thanks NRA

So tell me, what are the gun laws for the areas surrounding Chicago?

It is because we do not have NATIONAL gun laws, as the states make their own.

Or have you never seen a California resident by a gun here in Arizona?

Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Article comment by: Darwinism at its Finest

Most gun accidents are very sad. The NRA says that they are an acceptable part of keeping ourselves safe, but that they shouldn't happen. But they happen way more in America than they do in Europe. That's because everybody has a gun. Most people are stupid. If lots of stupid people have guns......well you know the rest of the story. The NRA are the gun sellers. They want you to buy guns and ammo, not keep you safe.

Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Article comment by: arrogant & ignorant

@ nothing good comes from:
Everyone, take two minutes and do a search with the key words :guns save lives." You will quickly learn that this statement: "nothing good comes from guns" is completely ignorant. And thank you NRA, thank you for fighting for freedom and the 2nd amendment. Even if you don't have or feel the need to arm and protect yourself now, the NRA is protecting that right for you now and in the future. Thank you NRA.

Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Article comment by: Never One the chamber. A pump-action is good for that. The sound of a shotgun racking is a *very* effective deterent. Guns and alarm systems: just having the bad guys think you might have one is a deterent for most. Sorry for the family :(

Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Article comment by: Rob Beauchamp

Nothing strikes fear into anybody nearby like the sound of a shot gun chambering a round. So why have a round in the chamber?

Posted: Monday, August 19, 2013
Article comment by: @ Thanks NRA

6 were shot dead and 28 were wounded this weekend in Chicago. What do you have to say about this? In a city where guns are prohibited.

Posted: Monday, August 19, 2013
Article comment by: Monkey Jedi Flame

It has been 5 days, are the police still "investigating"?

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013
Article comment by: Carolin E

I am so sorry for your loss. I hope that the lady involved is cleared of all wrong doing, and is able to get the help she will need to get through this. I pray her family is strong and supportive and helps her through. Please accept my condolences.

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013
Article comment by: Nothing good comes from guns


Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: Vi King

She did what her husband asked? Last article said, she did what her husband told her. Nice rewording DC.

Her finger had to have been on the trigger in order for it to go off. She also had the business end pointed at her husband.

When are people ever going to be charged with gun crimes around here? Maybe than people who shouldn't handle a gun won't!

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: Thanks NRA

And still the NRA thinks that it is a real good idea for folks to have a bunch of these firearms in each American household! Would someone please count over the past ten years how many "accidents" there have been in Yavapai County? It seems it is very common for a gun to discharge while being pulled from a holster, (at a gun safety class), Some kid blows up a neighbor friend. A gun discharges from a purse at a supermarket. A shotgun blasts someone in their living room. Compare this carnage to the rare, every once in a great, great while the use of guns warding off some bad guy. Or preventing govn'mt from invading us?

I'm not sure that it is worth it! Too many good folks are suffering, having their lives ruined for these pro-firearm decisions!

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: Wish the was a LIKE button to comments

Sorry to that one person that made her comment...
BUT its very true, to shoot the gun you have to put your finger in the trigger. So, she knew what she was doing. We are all sure the truth will come out in court like it always does. Just SUCKS to be her.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Doug W

Sarah B

I am truly sorry for your loss, my sincere thoughts and prayers go out to you and to your family.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Tired of business as usual...

Seems neither one was familiar with the weapon, or this would NOT have happened... sad...

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Sarah B

I think you all need to keep your comments to yourselves because you don't know the situation, this is my family you are talking about and everyone is very distraught and devastated, she had never handled a gun and didn't want to so unless you know all of the facts you need to shut up.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Hogan Hero

So, even under the best circumstances, these things shouldn't be in the hands of anyone who hasn't first been checked out for, stop me before I start to sound like a liberal.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Trigger Guard

Trigger guards are looped around the trigger to keep the trigger from accidentally being pulled. You have to actually slip a finger inside it in order to pull the trigger.

I am a little woman yet even I know that.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Not So Sure

Really?? Its not easy to squeeze a shotgun trigger. Why did she have her finger on the trigger while handing the gun to him? Why did she have it pointed at him. She is in her 50's and never heard that you never point a gun at someone?

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: gil klein

safety off, and finger on the trigger, just handing someone a firearm,?? who is covering up for who? i hope the real story comes out. yesterday was tuesday, and getting the firearm out ,for this weekend. i hope our protect and serve people are smarter than they appear at this point.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Even Children Know

I don't care how unfamiliar someone might claim to be with guns, everyone knows that putting your finger on the TRIGGER is the only thing that makes the gun fire. Tragically, even the youngest of children know exactly that, they just don't understand the consequences.

You'd think the wife would know what every 3 year old knows - if you want to make the gun go BOOM you pull that trigger.

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