Quantcast

Safety experts: Deadly Manchester gun mix-up avoidable - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Safety experts: Deadly Manchester gun mix-up avoidable

Jeffrey Charbonneau Jeffrey Charbonneau
Nicholas Bell Nicholas Bell

Rutland, Vermont - November 26, 2010

A dangerous prank turned deadly when a Manchester, Vt., man shot and killed his friend Thursday. He told police he mistook a .22-caliber rifle for an air gun, but firearms experts say they are both considered lethal weapons.

Mark Spafford of Otter Valley Supply in Rutland said it can be very easy to confuse the two weapons if you are unfamiliar with them, because their weight and size are very similar, but he said they are fired off much differently.

"You could have two side by side and somebody that didn't know about guns wouldn't be able to tell the two apart," Spafford said.

Spafford is a licensed firearms retailer and said he was shocked to hear the news about a Manchester man shooting and killing his sleeping friend-- mostly because of the fact there was a loaded gun in the house.

"The first rule about firearm safety is you never point a gun at another person," Spafford said. "You always assume a weapon is loaded, until it is proven unloaded and safe."

On Thursday morning, 121 Eagle Rise Road was home to a tragic accident. Nicholas Bell, 23, of Manchester, told police he was attempting to pull a prank on his friend who was asleep in bed and shoot him with the air rifle to wake him up. But instead of an air rifle, Bell shot a loaded .22-caliber rifle. Jeffrey Charbonneau, 24, of Manchester, suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and died at the scene.

Spafford says the bullets are different sizes, but in close range an air rifle can be just as deadly as a .22.

"It is smaller, but it is capable-- say if you got it between a rib-- you could kill somebody with one of these little pellets," he said.

He said the guns have become much more powerful over the years and should not be treated as a toy.

"It is kind of hard to mistake them for a toy-- they do not look like toys anymore. They are not small miniature rifles, they are full size," Spafford said.

Bell was arrested and charged with manslaughter. He is being held in Marble Valley Correctional Center on $250,000 bail.

Two other people were in the condo when the shooting happened, but police won't say who the homeowner is. We also don't know who owns the gun. But Spafford says if it's not Bell or Charbonneau, that other person could face charges, too.

Molly Smith - WCAX News

Related Story:

Manchester, Vt., man shot and killed in bed

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Man accused of taking school bus on a drunken joy ride

    Man accused of taking school bus on a drunken joy ride

    Sunday, August 31 2014 12:09 AM EDT2014-08-31 04:09:10 GMT
    A Lowell man faces a slew of charges after allegedly stealing a school bus.
    A Lowell man faces a slew of charges after allegedly stealing a school bus.
  • Three hurt in Essex crash

    Three hurt in Essex crash

    Sunday, August 31 2014 12:08 AM EDT2014-08-31 04:08:33 GMT
    A two car accident in Essex Saturday evening.
    A two car accident in Essex Saturday evening.
  • Drug bust in Bristol

    Drug bust in Bristol

    Sunday, August 31 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-08-31 04:07:19 GMT
    Police say David and Cathy Fleming of Bristol, Dameon Williams of Brooklyn New York, and Oleitha Turner of Mount Vernon New York have been arrested.
    Police say David and Cathy Fleming of Bristol, Dameon Williams of Brooklyn New York, and Oleitha Turner of Mount Vernon New York have been arrested.
  • Bike and donut race in Burlington

    Bike and donut race in Burlington

    Saturday, August 30 2014 9:14 PM EDT2014-08-31 01:14:42 GMT
    It's a race for bike riders with a huge appetite. Finally, the kind of race where eating too many donuts is not only okay, but all part of the strategy to win.
    It's a race for bike riders with a huge appetite. Finally, the kind of race where eating too many donuts is not only okay, but all part of the strategy to win.
  • Motorcycle rally rolls through Killington

    Motorcycle rally rolls through Killington

    Saturday, August 30 2014 9:14 PM EDT2014-08-31 01:14:05 GMT
    The Killington Classic motorcycle rally brings in thousands of enthusiasts excited about bikes and gives the local economy a boost.
    The Killington Classic motorcycle rally brings in thousands of enthusiasts excited about bikes and gives the local economy a boost.
  • DJ A-Dog remembered in Burlington

    DJ A-Dog remembered in Burlington

    Saturday, August 30 2014 9:12 PM EDT2014-08-31 01:12:52 GMT
    Skateboarding is usually not permitted in City Hall Park in Burlington – but Saturday was an exception to the rule.
    Skateboarding is usually not permitted in City Hall Park in Burlington – but Saturday was an exception to the rule.
  • Mini Highland games in Quechee

    Mini Highland games in Quechee

    Saturday, August 30 2014 9:12 PM EDT2014-08-31 01:12:06 GMT
    Saturday young campers at the Quechee State Park competed in their own Mini Highland Games.
    Saturday young campers at the Quechee State Park competed in their own Mini Highland Games.
  • Music Festival in Burlington

    Music Festival in Burlington

    Saturday, August 30 2014 9:11 PM EDT2014-08-31 01:11:24 GMT
    Musicians from around the world are making their mark in Vermont this week.
    Musicians from around the world are making their mark in Vermont this week.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.