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 seattletime.com 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.

63 Responses to Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Cornelius De Jong IV

  1. avatarST says:

    The true fail is yet to come.Just wait until the Brady Bunch catches wind of this.

    Its been said before,but for the sake of *all of our rights*,DON’T BE NEGLIGENT.Because as sure as I can type this the day a pregnant woman is shot by some numbskull like this one any progress on the 2nd Amendment will grind to a stuttering halt,replaced with Soros & Democrat party funded marches for the reinstatment of the Assault Weapons Ban.

  2. avatarWill says:

    I don’t understand how anyone could possibly forget to clear the chamber. Does not matter how sure you think you are, an extra 3 seconds would have saved that girls life.

    Not that a gun should be brought out at a party anyways. I know these articles are always titled “Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day” but some of them read more like “Complete and Utter Dumba** Gun Owner of the Day”.

    • avatartdiinva says:

      Could alcohol have something to do with this critical lapse in judgment? There are two things you don’t do when you drink — drive and handle guns. Unfortunately, people will continue do mix these activities and death will be the result.

      • avatarHenry Bowman says:

        Yes, negligently killing someone with a car or gun (or however) should be made more illegaler if alcohol is involved.

        • avatartdiinva says:

          The usual non-sequitur.

          And killing someone with a motor vehicle while under the influence is “more illegaler” than otherwise. If you cause an accident that results in death = citation for a traffic violation + civil suit. Same accident under the influence = vehicular homicide.

        • avatarHenry Bowman says:

          Right! That’s my point.

          Killing someone through negligence, regardless of how that negligence is perpetrated, should have a standard punishment.

        • avatarHenry Bowman says:

          I recognize and apologize for the non sequitur. I agree that intoxicants will likely cloud one’s judgement and perhaps lead them to do more dangerous things that they otherwise wouldn’t do.

          I was trying to illustrate that even if somone negligently kills someone while intoxicated it is no different than negligently killing someone while sober. We must blame the person for being negligent, not for being intoxicated.

        • avatarRalph says:

          Negative, Henry Bowman. Negligent driving deserves punishment. Drunken driving evidences a greater degree of indifference to the lives and safety of others and deserves greater punishment.

        • avatarHenry Bowman says:

          What about driving while tired or driving while old? As soon as we start picking and choosing which impairments evidence “a greater degree of indifference,” we lose focus on the fact that laws should be objective, to include mens rea.

          What if a drunk person was driving slowly down the shoulder with his hazards on? Does that show an indifference to the safety of others? Yet, he would be punished just the same as a drunk driver weaving and speeding.

        • avatarAccur81 says:

          Check the laws. A reasonable person can be negligent for a moment, while the drunk is negligent the entire time they are driving, shooting, etc. Drunk drivers and shooters are not responsible people, and should receive the greatest possible penalties for their actions.

        • avatarJake says:

          +1

          Consuming alcohol is not “negligent” it is “willful” and thus such an accident would at the very least be reckless endangerment whereas if the idiot was sober it would be negligence.

      • avatarRobert Farago says:

        Shooting a rifle from a sidecar is also ill-advised.

      • avatarDiane says:

        Of course alcohol has everything to do with it. It has ben a few month since CLAIRE’s death. Dejong is still in jail but at least he is sober now (i doubt he can drink while locked up) i support 2nd mendment but do notsupport concesled weapons permit given to anyone who requests one. With MIP pronlems as a youth Dejong is vlearly a scofflaw and a stupid stupid man. I want to see a Claire’s Law which will disallow granting of the concealed weapons permit to anyone with alcohol infractions in recent years, especially as a minor!! (claire is my daughter and yes cory is a dumb gun owner!)

    • avataral says:

      You are obviously a Rush “I need another painkiller” Limpballs listener. Yes, the Democrats are your enemy. Grow up.

  3. avatarready,fire,aim says:

    I’m confused he was a licensed carrier but he had priors for drinking and driving? was he still a minor or an adult at that time? it goes on to say that he was in possession of alcohol when he was a minor that i can see being removed when you turn 21 but the other charge i’d like to know cause if he was an adult how the hell did he get a ccw?

    • avatarHenry Bowman says:

      DUI is usually not a felony.

    • avatarCasey1911 says:

      I believe Washington is a shall issue state. Generally they have the same standards for CCW as exists in most places for buying a gun. Since possession of alcohol and DUIs are not felonies, and since they’re obviously not domestic violence he’s good in most places.

      If you ask me, DUI, if not the first, then the second offense should be irrefutable proof that you should be barred from legal ownership of any dangerous weapon; whether that weapon is on 4 wheels, or handheld is irrelevant.

      • avatarready,fire,aim says:

        true …true DUI is not a felony but if he had his CCW and a DUI occurred….. here in texas you can kiss your CCW days good-bye ….I guess all that must have happened before he received his CCW

  4. avatarRopingdown says:

    As to the chamber being loaded “unbeknown to him,” that is simply false. He was the one who loaded the chamber. For all those people who sneer at the Browning High Power’s safety activated when the magazine is removed, here’s your explanation of that safety’s good side. Ah, now for the “4 Rules of Gun Safety”: How about adding just a few? Never remove the magazine for administrative reasons without also racking the slide three times and visually inspecting the chamber. Never pull the trigger for administrative purposes without first racking the slide three times and visually inspecting the chamber. Never hand someone a gun “to see” without the clearing above. Never put your hand on a gun when you’ve had a drink within the last hour except in defensive emergency. Guns must never be brought out for show during a party at which alcohol or drugs are present. [There, 4 rules becomes 9. We can't say people do not need these rules because their behavior clearly shows otherwise, repeatedly.] Someone have a tenth rule?

    I disagree with the “DUI 1 or 2 should equal loss of gun rights” statement. In the usual case a second DUI brings long probation. During probation gun rights are removed in most jurisdictions. That suffices. Being .09 twice very rarely results in accidents, which start to rise dramatically at BA of .14.

    • avatarTim Tritt says:

      Idea for a design modification (I know, just follow the rules).

      The mag release is a switch (similar to a manual safety) – place it in the “on” (release) position, and once you rack the slide (and you must to release the magazine), causing the gun to eject a bullet, the magazine will then fall free from the mag well. Two birds and one bullet, so to speak.

      This reminds me of all the ND stories with Glocks – people seem to always forget to check the chamber when they are cleaning – they then have to pull the trigger to break the gun down.

      • avatarRobert Farago says:

        Glock schmock. I clear a gun (or check it) every time I handle it.

        • avatarTim Tritt says:

          Even in a sidecar. You are smart like that.

        • avatarRopingdown says:

          I, too, can’t see what ND’s have to do with Glocks, particularly. (and who who’s supposed to do the shooting then, if not the sidecar occupant? The driver? laugh.)

        • avatarDarren says:

          NDs will probably scale with the prevalence of firearms in the market, and there are a lot of Glocks. There is also the design issue of having to pull the trigger to disassemble the firearm.

          I’m not a Glock hater by any stretch, it’s my carry pistol but like any weapon it’s bad to be impaired or inattentive when it’s in your hand.

        • avatarRopingdown says:

          Yes, numbers, and the fact that so many users are LEO’s, in the sense that scalpel misuse is more often committed by surgeons than by others. I carry a G36, typically.

      • avatarDaveL says:

        I never got the point of the “rack three times” thing. What’s advantage over racking once and inspecting visually?

        • avatarRopingdown says:

          You can actually drop the magazine and rack it, and still end up with a round in the chamber if you screw up just right. There’s a DEA agent in Miami who made a fine YouTube video demonstration. The second rack is to prevent that. The third round is a religious observance.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7ufT_6Kgy0

        • avatarDaveL says:

          But if you’re actually looking into the chamber when you pull back the slide, and you don’t close it until you’re satisfied it’s clear, then there’s no way that can happen.

    • avatarMojomike says:

      10th rule is point it in a safe direction while clearing. A while back we had an on-duty school resource officer put a round through a wall. Not sure why he was allegedly administratively handling his weapon while on duty, but it was pointed in an unsafe direction INSIDE the school.

    • avatarScottA says:

      I pretty much agree with you. A .09 BAC for a DUI seems like a joke to me. There is a huge difference between .09 and .14. I always carry a breathalyzer on me if I go out and have drinks with a friend for this reason. I can’t tell from how I feel if I am at a .07 or a .09 but I can definitely tell if I’m too (actually, not legally) drunk to drive. That said, if I’m over the limit, I don’t drive even if I feel fine. I also think if you blow a .2 or above it should be a felony with jail time. At .2 you’re not just making a mistake but actively endangering peoples lives.

    • avatarChuck says:

      No need for 9 or 10 rules when the first four will do. If the idiot had followed any one of the four, this would not have happened.

      • avatarRopingdown says:

        I agree in principle. People have difficulty with the rules at the margin, though. Just one example: In a crowded world there often is no safe direction to point, only a ‘safer’ one. As for administrative clearing, it isn’t in the four rules. I think it should be added. Redundant? Sure, in theory. Needed? It might help. I’d really like to say “stop chambering a round when in low-risk settings, learn to rack when you draw.” but that upsets people. Even those who actually rely on a shotgun for home defense. Go figure.

        • avatarHenry Bowman says:

          You absolutely can follow the 4 rules for administrative clearing.

          #1: even though I’ve unloaded it and checked the chamber, I still treat it as if it’s loaded.
          #2: I don’t point it at anything I’m not willing to damage (a matress, the dirt, etc)
          #3: I still keep my finger off the trigger until my sights are on the target (the matress, the dirt, etc) and I’m ready to fire.
          #4: I’m aware of my target (the matress, the dirt, etc) and what’s beyond it, beside it, and in front of it.

          Just because you pull the trigger and it goes “click” doesn’t mean you neglect the 4 rules.

    • avatarRalph says:

      Ropingdown, visually checking the chamber should not end the process, because poor lighting or a shadow can mess with your visual acuity. The only way to be sure that the chamber is empty is to put your finger in there and feel for the round.

      • avatarRopingdown says:

        I agree, Ralph. If we can’t see the chamber, feel it. I’ve actually never seen a person feel the chamber when the light is good, though it would perhaps be admirable to do so. (Any advice for these people carrying .9 mm’s? Confirming clear must be tough.)

        • avatarCarlosT says:

          I always include the “feel the chamber” step, because it only takes a second, and it makes sense for me to confirm what I see with another sense.

          I haven’t yet handled a .9mm, so I’m not sure how you’d handle that. Maybe that’s a question of the day right there.

        • avatarST says:

          Feel that chamber. Stick your pinky in there,even if you see empty barrel. A gentleman had a negligent discharge with his Glock because after ejecting the mag and racking the slide nothing came out, so the owner assumed the chamber was clear and activated the trigger. The loud bang that followed was because his extractor failed to grab the seated round .

  5. avatarST says:

    We must take care to avoid going down the path of blaming the legislation or the tool for human negligence.

    No magazine disconnect, set of rules, or legislative policies would have prevented this tragedy. This man willfully broke the law -as in most shall issue states it is illegal to be armed and intoxicated-and handed his loaded firearm to several other intoxicated guests during the course of the night.So clearly additional laws wouldn’t have prevented a thing.

    This moron choose to behave negligently, and the triers of the facts will assess the appropriate response in court.It is unfortunate, but we must accept that in a country which respects the individuals right to be responsible we must also recognize that people will choose to be stupid. The only way to prevent this kind of tragedy from **ever** happening again is to turn down the path of Socialism, and I would rather catch a stray bullet than live in Soviet Russia.

    • avatarRopingdown says:

      I absolutely agree that it isn’t more laws we need. We need a slightly longer set of rules we teach and which we politely encourage each other to follow. For a certain subset of people Cooper’s rules were too spare. Obviously, too, the set of places a person carries round-chambered is the set of places he should never draw his handgun except in justified defensive need, and definitely should not spontaneously hold a show-and-tell.

      • avatarRalph says:

        definitely should not spontaneously hold a show-and-tell.

        Bingo! This is the second time this week (that we know about) that a young girl was shot because a guy with a gun wanted to show off.

        What the hell were those people thinking?

  6. avatarChas says:

    Clearly, poor handgun knowledge and skills. How many people think that merely inserting the magazine changes the handgun from ” unloaded” to “loaded”? Too many. It’s not loaded until one rests in the chamber. How tragic and unnecessary for this poor girl that the idiot with the gun didn’t know the difference.

    • avatartdiinva says:

      You have endorsed a violation of Rule #1. The gun is always loaded until proven otherwise.

      • avatarRopingdown says:

        The rule I was taught is “every gun is always loaded.” Has it been changed?

        • avatarStephen says:

          +1

        • avatarRalph says:

          The rule I was taught is “every gun is always loaded.” Has it been changed?

          Yes. Cooper himself changed it because the original iteration of the rule was wrong. He changed it to “all guns are loaded all the time and even if they are not, they’re treated that way.”

          Treating a gun “as loaded” means that every gun is properly cleared before activities like cleaning, etc. This makes more sense than his original incantation, which taken literally — the way Cooper intended — prohibited the cleaning of any firearm.

        • avatarRopingdown says:

          Thanks. That’s really not a change, but a clarification for those who needed it. The first clause of the restated rule is as false as it ever was, and useful only as a statement of attitude. But it’s the right attitude.

      • avatarChas says:

        You are absolutely right. I don’t have any idea what I was thinking.

  7. avatarTED says:

    An ND CAN happen to anyone with a semiautomatic handgun. In the 60s while serving with the Seabees, I knew of a Marine Sargent of the guard who shot his Corporal of the guard while on duty and playing quick draw. If it can happen to the best trained Marine, it can happen to you. Nearly all handgun NDs are with a semi automatic.

  8. avatarAharon says:

    RIP Claire. The young woman had just celebrated her 20th birthday last month.

  9. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    I hope this moron gets locked up for a long time, because there’s no excuse for what he did to this poor woman and her family.

  10. avatarJohnny says:

    Its dumbasses like this that make us “need” loaded chamber indicators.

    • avatarRalph says:

      Anyone who actually uses a loaded chamber indicator as a substitute for manually checking the gun will have an ND. Don’t rely on an indicator. Open the action, look and stick your finger in there.

  11. avatarRon says:

    “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.”

    Unless De Jong became mentally incapacitated from the removal of the magazine to the pulling of the trigger, I’m not buying intoxicated. ( Also notice he pointed the gun at the wall, not his head or someone else.)
    Anymore than I’m buying “Unbeknown to him there was still a live round in the chamber of the firearm…………..” ( Unless it was not his firearm.)

    I think this incident resulted from the difficulty one has seeing or thinking clearly with one’s head up one’s ass.

  12. avatarKevin T says:

    This is just sad and pathetic. Kinda wanna scream at him at least he could have pointed it at the ground. Besides not following like 6 other safety rules….

    • avatarrybred says:

      yeah, he coulda pointed it at the ground, but what if his bedroom was on the second floor? unfortunately you can’t fix stupid and no more “rules” will help.
      in fact i believe that more rules would simply dilute the original 4 and make it more things to remember. simplicity is key!

  13. avatarMatt G. says:

    I hope “De Jong” gets the shit kicked out of him in prison. What an asshole.

  14. avatarSecret says:

    I went to high school with Cory De Jong and when a friend told me about this incident, the first thing I said to her was “I’m not surprised that he did that”. In high school Cory was always intoxicated and doing recklace things. It has been a couple years since I have seen Cory but in high school he was dealing drugs and hanging out with bad people. Now that Cory really messed up, I hope he enjoys his prison time because he can now meet the guys in prison that he was always trying to act like. If Cory was so sure that the gun was unloaded, he should have pointed it at him self so that an innocent female didn’t have to die.

  15. avatarJames lawrie says:

    This kid ended up just getting 27 mths in jail. No justice at all. Claire got a life sentence and this kid got less than 3 years WOW!!!

  16. avatarNameless says:

    This whole experience was proof to me that there IS no justice in the world.

    Less than a week before this happened, Cory De Jong pulled a handgun out while he was a passenger in my car and pointed it at passer by’s on the street in front of the house Claire was killed in. He was not excising proper trigger discipline and his firearm was loaded. For some reason the police were not interested in this, even though I tried my best to make this known to them.

    I can not believe that he was allowed to be a legal concealed carry holder given his past history of alcohol abuse.

    I can confirm without a shadow of a doubt that he was a heavy cocaine user, heavy alcohol user, and dealing cocaine and other stimulant drugs at the time this happened.

    I also heard his family members say a lot of very scummy stuff about Claire outside of Cory’s sentencing.

    I was invited to the house that night and I didn’t go because Cory made me very uncomfortable and feel unsafe. I tried to get Claire to leave and come hang out elsewhere. She agreed with the points I made, but said that it would be the last time she went there because the house had been sold.

    From what I have been hearing Cory is still a heavy alcohol user. He still frequents seattle and eastside area house parties and violates his probation. I encourage anyone who comes in contact with him to take a few pictures and contact his parole officer.

    Cory barely even served his “27 month” sentence after being let off on “work release” for his family’s business. I would like nothing more than to see him return to prison for what he did to my friend.

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