Brannaird Riley’s next door neighbor is a Marine at Cherry Point MCAS, Lance Corporal Marianne Lee. Corporal Lee was packing her belongings for a move back to California when she “tried to make her 9mm pistol safe.” That’s how witn.com sets the stage for what you know is about to follow. But before we get to the ballistic denouement, I’d like to point out that unloading a gun isn’t a particularly intellectually challenging task. Assuming we’re talking about a semi-automatic pistol, you just point the gun in a safe direction, drop the mag, rack the slide, rack the slide again (why not?) and Bob’s your uncle. Oh, and keep your finger off the trigger. Hang on. It seems that Corporal Lee wasn’t making her gun safe after all . . .
They say Lance Corporal Marianne Lee’s gun fired while she was cleaning it, sending the bullet through a wall into Riley’s apartment. It ricocheted off a wall stud, through another wall and hit the man [in the arm].
The 47-year-old Riley was transported to CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern for treatment.
After consulting with the district attorney, police said no charges would be brought against Lee.
So the Marine was cleaning her gun prior to the negligent discharge – presumably without “making it safe” first. As for that ricochet, wow! Who could have seen that one coming?
Um, anyone? Bullets have this tendency to go through things. So when you’re unloading your gun, you have to think about the bullet’s potential travel direction. And you know that moment right before you pull the trigger to remove the slide on some guns? That’s an excellent time to check the gun (again) AND think about bullet travel.
As we’ve pointed out before, sometimes there isn’t a safe direction at which you can point your gun. In that case, the corner of your structure – where there’s lots of metal bits to impede the bullet’s progress – may be your best bet.
Lance Corporal Marianne Lee lucked out. She could have killed her neighbor. Or faced appropriate disciplinary action for her irresponsible gun handling, from the local police or the Marines. Or had her face plastered over the evening news. Nope. She skates. But not from TTAG’s opprobrium. And thanks to WITN we know exactly where to send her IGOTD hardware.