Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Cornelius De Jong IV

It’s been a bad week for shots accidentally fired through walls. First it was someone in a church closet showing off his gun to some curious fanboys. Now it’s a guy at a party Saturday playing with his pistol, most likely after imbibing. Both were due to forgotten rounds in chambers. As in the church incident, the amount of failure here is difficult and painful to catalog. But here goes . . .

Cornelius De Jong IV, a licensed carrier, brought a gun to a party on Saturday in Redmond, Washington. He started out OK, but as recounts, he just couldn’t seem to leave well enough alone.

Witnesses said De Jong had placed the gun in a safe at the house because he had planned to drink at the party, charging papers say. De Jong later removed the handgun from the safe when someone asked to see it.

Several people handled the weapon before it was placed under a mattress for safekeeping, charging papers say.

At some point, De Jong went into the room to retrieve the gun from beneath the mattress. The magazine was removed from the weapon and De Jong pointed the handgun at the wall and pulled the trigger to show the firearm was empty, the charging papers say.

“Unbeknown to him there was still a live round in the chamber of the firearm, and pulling the trigger had the effect of firing the projectile through a nearby wall,” police wrote in their report.

Claire Thompson (above) was on the other side of that wall and took a 40 caliber round in the neck. She later died. All because De Jong couldn’t keep his damned hands off of his gun.

So let’s see. We have a gun removed from a safe and passed around at a party where people are drinking. It’s later stashed not back in the safe, but under a mattress. Because as everyone knows, it’s hard to get much more secure than mattress storage. And then there’s pulling the trigger with the gun pointed at a sheetrock wall. Perfect.

De Jong, who had prior convictions for drunken driving and being a minor in possession of alcohol, is now facing a manslaughter charge. At least he won’t have to worry about what to do with his gun at parties any more.