A man has been placed in police custody and charged with manslaughter after he shot and killed a man who was wearing a bulletproof vest.
According to various reports, there was no malicious intent. The incident was said to be a tragic accident after the victim willingly asked his friend, who’s been identified as Jason Griffin, to shoot him to test out the flack jacket.
According to Griffin’s partner, the 39-year-old ‘didn’t know the gun was loaded’ and despite the unusual circumstances, he says he didn’t mean to kill his friend – who is yet to be identified.
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Griffin was identified as the shooter by his girlfriend Mary Warstler. He’s since been placed in custody by police in Huston, Texas.
Homicide Sgt Mark Holbrook, who’s leading the investigation, revealed the incident occurred at a party at a Heights garage apartment early Saturday morning.
Sgt Holbrook states, according to the Independent:
The victim put on a bullet proof vest and another man who has a gun winds up shooting him. It’s unusual, but these things happen sometimes.
Warstler who wasn’t at the party, but confirmed Griffin – her long-term partner – was the shooter, told abc13:
He went there to sell his friend a flak jacket. It’s so bad because he didn’t know the gun was loaded.
According to Warstler, the victim asked Griffin to shoot him to test the quality of the vest:
He even asked, ‘Brother, do you want me to cinch that up for you,’ but they were playing this stupid game going around.
He said ‘shoot me,’ and he [Griffin] didn’t think there was anything in it, and he did. He tried to take the vest off and save him.
Police claim the suspect left the scene after the shooting but Warstler says he returned the next morning ‘shaken and afraid’, feeling ‘bad for what happened to his friend’.
A press briefing from HPD says the suspect was treated for a medical issue at the hospital before being taken into custody without incident on Sunday afternoon.
The case will now be referred to the district attorney’s office to determine what charge may be filed. As well as manslaughter, Griffin is looking at charges for unlawful possession of body armour and being a felon in possession of a weapon.
Data from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed just over 3,200 people were killed by a firearm in Texas in 2015. To put this into perspective, death rate by firearms is 11.7 per 100,000 population.