See the update here.
A woman shot and killed a man at 705 North Bacher Street in Bunnell this evening around 7:30 p.m. The man died of a gunshot wound to the head.
The woman, who may have been the victim’s girlfriend, reportedly told authorities that the shooting was accidental, and that she did not know that the gun was loaded. “There is an initial claim of an accidental shooting,” a sheriff’s spokesperson confirmed.
Flagler County Fire Flight, the emergency helicopter, was initially placed on standby and numerous fire rescue units sent in, then cancelled when the man died. The identities of the shooter and the victim are not known.
The property at 705 North Bacher has been owned by James and Angelina New since the mid-1990s. Angelina New is the sister of former Bunnell City Commissioner Jimmy Flynt. Neither appears to have been involved.
“It looks like two of their friends were staying there,” Tom Foster, Bunnell’s acting city manager, said this evening. Foster was the Bunnell police chief until he was named acting manager several weeks ago.
The victim, he said, is “a white male, 56, he’s deceased from what looks like an apparent gunshot so we are working it as a homicide right now,” Foster said. “We have a person of interest being interviewed right now.” That interview was taking place at the Flagler County Sheriff’s investigation unit. The State Attorney’s major cases unit was also involved, Foster said. But it’s a Bunnell Police Department case.
“What I can tell you is there’s no threat to the community,” Foster said, noting that the shooting “might have been a boyfriend girlfriend” incident.
A crime scene investigation unit was heading for the property in late evening.
An accidental shooting does not necessarily exonerate the shooter. The last such shooting in Flagler County, resulting in the death of the victim, took place in Palm Coast six years ago, when William Merrill shot and killed his wife with a single gunshot from an AK-47 to the chest. Merrill claimed he was not aware the weapon was loaded, but had pointed its laser beam at his wife–as she was bathing their infant daughter–and pulled the trigger. He was charged with manslaughter and sentenced to 25 years in prison.