Nearly two years after a Charlotte, North Carolina teenager died and two others were wounded in a shooting incident, the Columbus County district attorney has determined a gun malfunction is to blame.
District Attorney Jonathan David said Jasmine Thar, a 16-year-old high school student, was killed on December 23, 2011 by a bullet from a rifle that accidentally discharged, The Charlotte Observer reported. James Anthony Blackwell, the gun’s owner, will not be charged in her death. Ballistic test results show no evidence that Blackwell intentionally fired the rifle, the prosecutor said. Blackwell told police the gun fired without him pulling the trigger, according to the Observer. The district attorney said the window through which the bullet fired was shut and the blinds were closed, which means that Blackwell was not taking aim when the gun went off.
Jasmine Thar, Jah-mesha McMillian, and Treka McMillian were walking to a car in Treka McMillian’s driveway when all three were struck by a bullet from a house across the street, the Observer said. The McMillians both survived.
The Remington 700 rifle has been under scrutiny in numerous incidents of unintentional firing, the Observer said. Documents filed in a recent lawsuit show that Remington received more than 3,000 customer complaints of unintended firings between 1992 and 2004. Company documents show that even before the gun went on the market in 1948, its designer, Merle Walker, proposed a design change to the trigger’s internal parts to prevent a malfunction that could lead to firing without a trigger pull, CNBC reported in 2010. In that same report, CNBC said documents show that, at least twice, Remington considered recalling the rifle, but abandoned the idea.
The manufacturer maintains that the gun is safe when firearm safety precautions are used properly, the Observer said. But an attorney for Jasmine Thar’s family told the Observer that this is a case of manufacturer’s negligence and the family will sue the gunmaker, Remington Arms Co.