Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Eric Zyzanski

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Sadly, there’s no shortage of photos on the intertubes of people who think snapping a selfie for Facebook while they hold a handgun to their own head is the height of hilarity. Sometimes those photo sessions go poorly. Take, for instance, the case of Eric Zyzanski. Apparently not satisfied pointing something that shoots a small caliber at his cranium, the now former Evanston, Illinois resident grabbed his shotgun. Friends who were there at the time asked him to put the gun down, “but he removed two to three rounds, held the gun to his cheek and told friends it was empty, police said.” . . .

It’s the one in the chamber they always seem to forget.

Then he pulled the trigger, according to the statement. One of the friends ran to a neighbor’s home to call police. … Zyzanski was pronounced dead at 11:35 p.m. at Evanston Hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Cue the inevitable Darwin Award nomination comments. The chicagotribune.com article doesn’t mention whether or not alcohol was involved, but would anyone really be surprised? Come on, people, if selfie you must, surely you can dream up something a little more creative. Do it for the children.

comments

  1. avatar DJ9 says:

    In these cases, I feel the most sadness for the witnesses. They are the ones who will have to live with the ugly images and memories for the rest of their lives.

    And probably develop a nasty (but totally unreasonable) fear of firearms, too. No one wants to believe their buddy was so much of an idiot that he killed himself by mistake, and so the gun becomes the inanimate target of their out-of-control emotions.

    1. avatar BillF says:

      “Then he pulled the trigger, according to the statement.”
      At least it wasn’t reported “the gun discharged while he posed for a photo”.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        More importantly, why was it necessary to pull the trigger for a “selfie” … unless it was a “selfie video” ?????

        1. avatar Stinkeye says:

          The trigger pull was likely an attempt to prove to his friends that the gun was empty. Not the recommended way to demonstrate that, I’d say.

      2. avatar Scrubula says:

        Thanks for catching that.
        Didn’t even cross my mind, the same way writing it incorrectly passes over non-gun people.

    2. avatar Peter says:

      I feel bad for the cleaning woman!

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Crime Scene Cleanup Should Never Be Done By Amateurs

        http://www.aftermath.com/

        1. avatar Dennis says:

          Sunshine Cleaning – Amy Adams, Emily Blunt

        2. I hope I don’t have an unexpected death in my home now that I have visited that website. I can hear the prosecutions openning arguments now…

    3. avatar MacBeth51 says:

      Them, and whoever has to clean up the mess

  2. avatar Alan Longnecker says:

    My sympathies to the people who cared for him. It sounds like some of them tried to encourage proper weapon discipline.

    Once again, gun owners will be represented in the media by a spokescorpse we neither wanted or deserve.

  3. avatar Menger40 says:

    The four rules are there for a reason. He had to break more than one for this to happen.

    1. avatar danthemann5 says:

      Four. He broke all four.

      1. Guns are ALWAYS loaded. – fail
      2. Never point the muzzle at anything you do not intend to destroy. – fail
      3. Keep finger off trigger. – fail
      4. Be aware of your target and its backstop. – fail

      1. avatar Menger40 says:

        It sounds like he was aware of his target, but he made a very poor choice in targets.

        1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

          Yup, but such a thick head is an acceptable backstop…

        2. avatar Dennis says:

          Yes, he chose…..poorly.

  4. avatar Cogitans says:

    Jesus…..

    He broke 3 of the 4 rules of gun safety and arguably what I call the 5th. Don’t handle your firearms when your intoxicated.

    1. avatar MarcusAurelius says:

      Seems to me he broke all 4.

      1. He treated his gun as if it were unloaded

      2. He pointed the gun at something he did not want to destroy (unless this is suicide in disguise).

      3. He may have been sure of his ‘target’ but probably not what was behind it.

      4. Since he was just posing for a picture there was no need to put his finger on the trigger, let alone pull it.

      Plus the 5th of not handling while intoxicated, or also my own personal 5th of not handling the gun needlessly.

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    He held a gun to his head and told his friends it was empty. And he was correct.

    1. avatar MarcusAurelius says:

      So what you’re saying is this is a grammatical fail more than anything? Simple confusion between subject and object?

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        It’s intuitively obvious to the casual observer…

      2. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Ralph’s comment is known as “Snark”.

    2. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

      That was clever.

    3. avatar Piet Padkos says:

      You sly devil, you.

    4. avatar DJ says:

      …and then it was gone.

    5. avatar Scott says:

      It’s certainly empty now.

    6. avatar Garibaldi says:

      Ralph’s comment is known as absolutely hilarious. And also as absolutely true. 🙂

  6. avatar Hannibal says:

    That… must have been a terrible thing to see a friend do to himself.

  7. avatar rlc2 says:

    Hmmm. Alcohol? Friends? Showing off for a girl?
    Rule 5 of firearm safety: Dont play with guns while drinking.
    Rule 6. Don’t let the little head think for the big head…

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2083008/Navy-SEAL-accidentally-shoots-head-showing-gun-woman-met-bar.html

    1. avatar TJG says:

      …This is my rifle, this is my gun…

  8. avatar Mediocrates says:

    Darwin Award… heh! Weapons are not meant to be played with. Those who think otherwise certainly deserve to learn a valuable lesson, although I hope it would not be the last lesson they learn.

  9. avatar Peally says:

    I feel bad for the people that had to see it. As for the guy himself, what an idiot…

  10. avatar Shire-man says:

    I always love how a local buffoons negligence makes international news.
    War between Israel and Gaza, Ebola spreading throughout Africa, and some jerk in Mexico shoots himself.

  11. avatar Sian says:

    “One of the friends ran to a neighbor’s home to call police.”

    Nobody had a cell phone? What year is this, 1988?

    1. avatar Ben Dover says:

      up north in michigan i dont get cell service, landline is only way to talk on phone up there,

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Maybe he ran to another house AND THEN called police… I wouldn’t want to stick around there either.

  12. avatar KCK says:

    Removed 2 to 3 rounds. This has to be a pump or auto.
    It is a shotgun not a Semi-auto pistol where the error of dropping the mag make them think it is empty.
    you have to rack the action to remove shells from the mag. Why would anyone stop until nothing is being ejected? Don’t you look in the action as you pump? All my shells are high vis red or yellow
    Posibilities?
    1. Suicide
    2. Way too drunk
    3. Suicide
    4. unfamiliar with his weapon
    5. Suicide
    My guess 1, 3 or 5

    1. avatar KCK says:

      Really weird if it was a break action double

    2. avatar Piet Padkos says:

      Can’t think anything but suicide, made it look like a joke with his friends around because he was afraid of dying alone.

      1. avatar styrgwillidar says:

        Or he had insurance that wouldn’t pay off in the event of suicide but would for accidental death?

  13. avatar Stephen Rivera says:

    Suicide selfie!

  14. avatar rob says:

    I really can’t see this as anything except natural selection. The ones to dumb to live don’t

  15. avatar SD3 says:

    Cleaning it!

  16. avatar v v ind says:

    Hes another gun violence stat now too.

  17. avatar Allan Shindel says:

    Another good example of “Here’s yer sign.”

  18. avatar JP says:

    Thinning the heard.

  19. avatar Rich Grise says:

    My inner ghoul wants to see a video of one of these. What does it really look like when somebody blows their own head off?

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      R. Budd Dwyer killed himself on live TV with a .357, I believe. Video exists, but it is pretty upsetting stuff. Not a curiosity I’d recommend trying to satisfy.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        Yeah that’s not great but it’s no shotgun.

    2. avatar Ralph says:

      You won’t be able to unsee it, Rich, even though you will want to.

      1. avatar fuque says:

        sometimes desensitizing yourself to something like viewing a suicide can better prepare you mentally if you find yourself in an up close and personal situation… you cant unwatch it… but you wont be one of the sheep if you ever witness it.

    3. avatar John in AK says:

      Well. . . a 3″ Magnum #4 load out of a Remington 1100 muzzle placed firmly against the underside of the chin at the apex with the throat, with a good gas seal, leaves. . . nothing. There IS no head, nothing but a sheared stump of neck.
      All things considered, until one starts looking up, and around the room, the scene is not terribly graphic. Until one starts looking up, and around the room. Then one finds things. Things. Such as eyeballs. Odd, they don’t distort much unless hit directly. They also travel for a considerable distance.

      The gallows humour of the moment, while talking to the poor female assistant DA at the scene who was asking rhetorically about how to positively identify the decedant, absent the head, was to tell her that it would be difficult, probably through fingerprints and maybe dental records, but at least we knew about his eyes, and that they were blue. When she asked how I knew, I showed them to her (they were on opposite sides of the room, one in a closet and the other by the wall), and said, “See? One blew this way, and the other blew that way.”

      She left, quietly.

      Sick bastidge. . .

      1. avatar Chadwick P says:

        Ha! So horrible but still got a giggle from me.

        1. avatar Eric Zyzanski says:

          Extremely funny right. Should be ashamed of yourself

      2. avatar Call Security! says:

        Yes, not much left after the close contact shotgun blast. With due respect to those this guy left behind, I would suggest that it was best that he did not survive this incident.

        I have read some horrible accounts of people who survived such shootings. In an EMT class I even watched a video of a trauma team trying to save one of these people. Their faces are mostly gone. You would basically be looking down their throat, because everything else has been pulverized. Sometimes, amazingly, EMS is able to get the injured person to ER with an airway intact. Then the poor bastard has a long stay in ICU to look forward to. If they survive, plastic surgeons will have their work cut out for them.

        There are things worse than death.

  20. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    Gruesome but quick.

  21. avatar former water walker says:

    Hmmm…didn’t see this on the local news. I feel sorry for his friends. Hope this doesn’t end up on video anywhere.

  22. avatar Aaron says:

    that’s gonna leave a mark.

  23. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Evolution in action.

  24. avatar mk10108 says:

    AWESOME…..over the mortar tube, outta the gene pool and no longer sucking our air.

    ah come on, he didn’t feel a thing….clean up crew made some coin.

    Castle Coin Conscience and now Caliber.

  25. avatar Alis says:

    Everyone has a right to their own opinion, dont get me wrong, however, everyone is missing The point….this is a man. A father, someones son, brother, cousin, best friend…would You have The same opinión of him being an “idiot” if u knew him personally or were related by blood? Maybe his choices were poor, but arent we all guilty of that at some point in time? Im not trying to throw God on anyone, but i am a firm believer that when ur time comes theres no going around it. Its crazy how People assume suicide, but were we there? Did The friends really tell him to put The gun down or did they egg him on and to not incriminate themselves told officials otherwise? If u actually knew E, ud know he was a reserved individual and had a lot to live For…an amazing daughter, nieces, strong Family bond so if it was suicide as these articles unknowingly assume, Then where is The note? Y not tie up loose ends w those he loves? And moré importantly y have an audience? This was a mistake, and henceforth an example of why not everything u read is true.

    Randal and Jared, my heart goes out to u. Be strong! And always remember E as he was. U guys have a Job to do and thats to remind his little girl what kind of person E was. U have a lot of People here ready to help in anything. Dont let negative comments affect ur mourning. At The end of The day, these individuals arent dealing w this loss. I love u guys so much always remember that even if i havent seen u in years u r very dear to my heart

    1. avatar joe says:

      “would You have The same opinión of him being an “idiot” if u knew him personally or were related by blood?”

      yes

      “Maybe his choices were poor, but arent we all guilty of that at some point in time?”

      I can honestly say that I’ve never put a firearm to my head, much less squeezed the trigger, either loaded or unloaded.

      “Im not trying to throw God on anyone, but i am a firm believer that when ur time comes theres no going around it.”

      no need to help it along either

      “Its crazy how People assume suicide, but were we there?”

      either incredible stupidity or suicide… one would think suicide would be a step up here.

      “Did The friends really tell him to put The gun down or did they egg him on and to not incriminate themselves told officials otherwise?”

      regardless of peer pressure he is 100% responsible for his actions.

      1. avatar Rich Grise says:

        Technically, it was suicide in that suicide means “self-killed.” The debate is, was it intentional suicide or merely negligent?

        In either case, it’s a little chlorine in the gene pool.

  26. avatar J Nielsen says:

    This appears to be the same guy. Looks like he was a little too fond of guns.

    http://mugshots.com/US-Counties/Illinois/Cook-County-IL/Eric-W-Zyzanski.302862.html

  27. avatar Alis says:

    Joe,

    “would You have The same opinión of him being an “idiot” if u knew him personally or were related by blood?”

    yes

    Response:
    What i am getting at hére is yes, his choice was poor, but had that Been ur brother, ur First thought wouldnt b “what an idiot”. It irks me to see this on The net because although everyone is entitled to their own opinión, voicing it in this manner is so hurtful to those who aré left to deal with this tragedy…Especially his daughter. Shes going to grow up in The age of technology and will at some point Google him and its a shame For her to have to read through this…

    “Maybe his choices were poor, but arent we all guilty of that at some point in time?”

    I can honestly say that I’ve never put a firearm to my head, much less squeezed the trigger, either loaded or unloaded.

    Response:

    I didnt mean that we have all pointed a gun at ourselves, much less owned one, what i meant was we aré all guilty of making poor decisions…sure The reprecussions were likely vastly different, but poor decisions nonetheless.

    “Im not trying to throw God on anyone, but i am a firm believer that when ur time comes theres no going around it.”

    no need to help it along either

    Response:

    Ur right, but there have Been many cases where stuff like this happened, whether overtly or accidentally and yet The individual survived!!! What i was getting at was if its ur time, its your time. It could have Been a stroke, heat exhaustion, Car accident, etc. There aré many ways he could have died…by his own hand, although not The most ideal manner, was probably fate…

    “Its crazy how People assume suicide, but were we there?”

    either incredible stupidity or suicide… one would think suicide would be a step up here.

    Response:
    This i do not agree with at all…call me biased or what have u but suicide is definitely The worst possible manner of dying. Its cowardly, egotistical and beyond The realm of hebetudinous.

    “Did The friends really tell him to put The gun down or did they egg him on and to not incriminate themselves told officials otherwise?”

    regardless of peer pressure he is 100% responsible for his actions.,.

    Response:
    Yes, he is 100% responsible For his actions, nmw but why judge him if we have all fallen prey to this at one point or another? Im unsure of who u aré or what ir about, but i can ascertain, to a certain degree, that u have Been peer pressured into something. Perhaps drinking in excess, driving While buzzed, maybe even trying out some drugs…obviously ur alive, so The out come of said peer pressure was in ur favor, so u may not see it as anywhere near what he did, but what if u had crashed and killed urself or someone else? What if u were left paralyzed? What if u had to spend The rest of ur life in a Cell thinking about that choice u made and having to deal w The death of another? What if those recreational drugs were laced w something or caused some unwanted damage that left u paralyzed or dead? Thank fully it didnt happen (and i hope to God it never does) but it could have happened. It has happened before. What made u so lucky??? It wasnt ur time. And because of that i dont think People should judge him through these means. Pray For him, For his soul, For The Family he left behind, For that little girl who will never see him in this life time! Dont laugh and find comical gain through anothers demise. We r all Human and make mistakes, some bigger than others, yes but thats y we should pick each other up. To better our People. Putting People down will make People careless and that rubs off. We should come together and not assume all People aré a certain way because one person of that race did this. We should Pray and hope his soul finds peace because even if u think u r better than him we all end up in The same hole. Age, class, race, sex, rich, poor, with or without an education, it Doesnt matter so lets not judge…. Thats all im saying 🙂

  28. avatar Eric Zyzanski says:

    This is his son. I’m his only child. None of you truly know what happened. This story is missing a lot and none of you know the people there or my father, I, and our family. I was there when I figured out my father died when I was 14. I was very close to my dad and he was a very good person and always looked out for me. I had to go to his house to get his belongings after he passed and I saw his puddle of blood where he last lay and other remains of his head. I’m sure none of you knew that my uncle received a voice mail from him a week prior to his death that someone wanted him dead. Bet you did know he received a black eye two days prior as well. They tried to sweep this case under the rug and we are trying to get the case opened once again but it isn’t going the best. Anyways thanks for the prayers From thefew comments and for you others hope you had a nice laugh

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