On Saturday, June 18, 2016, CCW instructor Mark T. Montgomery was conducting a concealed carry class with the assistance of his daughter, Katie Dunham, as usual at the Kay Jay Gun Shop in Amelia, Ohio.
But this day was anything but usual. Around 12:44 p.m., Montgomery was instructing the ten students in the class on dealing with a weapon malfunction. Guns were checked and double checked to make certain they were loaded with plastic bullets for the practice drills.
Unfortunately, one live round made its way into a gun and was discharged during the drill. The bullet passed through a wall, striking the gun range owner, James Baker, in the neck. He died at the scene.
“We were doing malfunction misfires and we have plastic bullets and we just, I just, we just double checked the bullets and there was a live round in one of the guns and it went through the wall and shot the owner in the neck,” a 911 caller said.
Initial reports from the Sheriff’s Office indicated the shot was fired by a student and called the death accidental.
The Clermont County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation into the Monroe Township fatal shooting and presented its finding to a grand jury. Eighteen witnesses testified at the grand jury proceeding including all 10 participants in the class. Other witnesses included investigators from the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office.
On August 9, 2016, the Clermont County grand jury indicted Montgomery on one third degree felony count of reckless homicide and his daughter, Dunham, on one first degree misdemeanor count of negligent homicide.
In announcing the indictments on August 10th, prosecutors indicated that it was Montgomery that discharged the fatal shot.
Coincidentally, on the same day as the indictments were handed down, a 21-year-old Philadelphia man believed his gun was jammed and accidentally shot himself in the chest at a Philadelphia gun range. He died shortly thereafter at the hospital, according to investigators.
Gun malfunctions can and do happen. But knowing how to handle the situation when it occurs properly is important for your safety as well as those around you. Seek training and advice from experienced professionals, but always double and triple check the ammo being used. Don’t assume someone else has already checked your gun or theirs.
Safety is your responsibility.