On December 23, 2018 in Austin, Texas, a 20-year-old woman named Autumn Ravonne King shot and killed her boyfriend, 26-year-old Erick Charles Allen. Three weeks later, King is being held on a manslaughter charge with bail set at $200,000.
According to King, her boyfriend’s death was an accident: Allen was preparing to take a Snapchat photo of her holding a .22 rifle when the rifle unexpectedly did what it was made to do.
According to a court affidavit, King told officers “she had the rifle pointed towards Erick and that the rifle ‘went off.’ … Erick dropped to the ground, but Autumn thought that Erick was ‘playing,’ and she told him to get up.”
“I didn’t even pull it (the trigger), I just barely touched it,” King said in her statement. She also later said the two were “trying to be like Bonnie and Clyde.” She claimed the gun belonged to Allen, who told her his guns were always unloaded. (Life-affirming pro tip: Every gun is always loaded).
It’s possible that King’s story is true. Irresponsible gun owners sometimes fail to follow the four rules of firearm safety, sometimes with disastrous consequences. These accidents are agonizingly stupid, but they’re still accidents.
However, it’s also possible that this killing wasn’t an accident.
After examination, the Mossberg rifle with which King shot Allen was found to be functioning properly with a 5-pound trigger pull. Additionally, footage from a cell phone found at the scene shows the couple arguing “about them both cheating on each other and justification for doing so,” according to detectives. The video was recorded only 16 minutes before the police were called to the scene.
The shooting took place in the home where the two lived together, in full view of two of Erick’s four young children.