20-year-old accidentally shot and killed by friend
YAKIMA, Wash. – Police say they discovered a man shot in the back and bleeding inside a Chestnut Court Apartment on South Fair Avenue Tuesday afternoon.
Yakima Police Spokesperson Mike Bastinelli said 20-year-old Javier Baez was taken to Astria Regional Medical Center in critical condition. He had surgery to treat his injuries but died Wednesday morning.
"The victim was in the apartment with a friend and the friend was holding a gun and the gun went off and struck the victim one time," he said.
Police said Baez's friend is 18-year-old Carlos Gonzalez Espinoza. He called 911 and was cooperative with police.
Espinoza is in custody and since police are saying it was an accident, he is facing a first-degree manslaughter charge.
Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins performed an autopsy Wednesday morning and said Baez suffered from a single gunshot to his back and bled to death.
Local gun experts said tragedies like this can be avoided if people remember simple rules.
David Kellett is a gun instructor at 'The Range' in Yakima and a former Yakima Police Officer. He said you should treat all guns as if they are loaded, keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, never point the gun at anything you aren’t willing to shoot, always know what is beyond your target and gun owners need to take responsibility of keeping their guns out of the hands of others.
"The number one reason was guns were not secured," Kellett said. "Typically kids and immature people got a hold of guns, playing with them, horse playing with them, taking them and showing them to their friends."
Kellett said it is important for gun owners to lock their guns up in a safe or with locks and to never bring it out unless you feel in danger.
He also said he would highly recommend anyone using a gun to get basic training from a local shooting range.