In a tragic incident, a middle-aged man from Burlington County, New Jersey, was accidentally shot dead by a close friend who mistook him for an intruder. According to a report by ABC Action News, the incident happened in Hamilton Township in Mercer County late Thursday night. The deceased man was later identified by officials as 50-year-old Kelvin Watford.
According to initial reports, the news about this accidental death came to light after a woman called the Hamilton Township Police Department on Thursday night to inform them that she had accidentally shot her friend. According to officials from the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, soon after the emergency call, a team of officers rushed to the spot. The call was made at 11:23 p.m., local time.
Upon their arrival at the scene, they found the victim, Kelvin Walford, lying at the bottom of a flight of stairs with what was thought to be an apparent gunshot wound. Officers checked for any vital signs, following which he was pronounced dead at the scene.
When the woman was asked about the incident, she told officers that Watford was a close friend of hers and that the two of them were having a conversation over the phone. According to her, Watford had said he was returning from a trip and implied that he was not in the immediate neighborhood. However, in reality, Watford was planning to surprise her with a quick, unscheduled visit. As both of them continued talking, the woman said she heard her dog barking. She also said she heard unusual noises outside her home. Fearing that there was an intruder trying to break in, she grabbed her gun and waited.
To her horror, she heard the sound coming closer. When she was convinced that someone had indeed broken into her home, she opened the door to her room and saw someone moving on the stairs. Still on the phone and panicked, she reportedly fired a single shot at the person. It was only a while later that she realized she had shot her own friend. Meanwhile, police officials from the Hamilton Township Police Department confirmed that no charges have been filed at this time. The incident remains under investigation.Following Kelvin's death, a group of family and friends huddled together on Friday to mourn his loss. According to Alvin Hursley, Kelvin's brother, everyone has yet to recover from the shock of Kelvin's untimely death. The group of relatives also included Watford's children and cousins. Kelvin was described by everyone as a gentle soul who was known for his generosity.
"He didn't have an enemy in this world. It's just tragic. He was the best kind of friend, father and brother you could imagine having," Hursley told the reporters who had gathered near his home.
Meanwhile, officers have not yet released the name of the female friend who accidentally shot Kelvin. Following the incident, a debate has already started over gun control laws. While many are sympathetic to the female friend for committing an unintentional mistake, others have questioned her ability and know-how of guns and also called for stricter gun control laws.
A commenter on a popular publication justified the woman's act when he wrote the following.
"Based on the statute (2C:3-4), use of deadly force for self defense is permitted if the intruder comes upon a person suddenly AND that person had reason to rear for their safety or life. Of course, there are about 15 pages of precedent cases associated with the statute. I would be very surprised if charges are not at least brought before a Grand Jury."
There were other voices which believed this was a very avoidable tragedy.
"She fired without stating she had a gun? No warning shot was fired? She didn't even turn the lights on? Did she just happen to be walking around the house with her gun? Definitely a tragedy. But 110% could have been avoided," another commenter wrote.
Do you believe incidents like these calls for a review of gun control laws in the country?
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