Livingston County sheriff’s officials say a 19-year-old Howell-area man accidentally shot and killed his 19-year-old friend today while shooting an assault rifle at a Brighton Township gun range.
Sheriff Bob Bezotte identified the victim as Charles Robert Kimball, of Howell, whom he mistakenly indicated earlier today was 20 years old.
Bezotte said his department’s investigation revealed that Kimball was shot about 12:45 p.m. with an AK-47 while his friend was applying lubricant after the assault rifle jammed while shooting it at the Livingston Conservation & Sports Association’s gun range at 8532 McClements Road between Kellogg Road and Old U.S. 23. He said Kimball was standing about 12 feet “down range” from his friend when the weapon discharged.
Kimball was instantly killed, the sheriff said. He did not identify the shooter.
“It had been malfunctioning and he had it serviced and received it back and was firing it at the range,” Bezotte explained. “He fired it successfully a few times but then it jammed.”
Bezotte said when the 19-year-old Howell-area man tried to fix the assault rifle, he accidentally engaged a bullet, which fired.
Kimball was one of four friends – three 19-year-old men and a 16-year-old girl – who went to the gun range after the shooter told his friends that he was a member of the club, Bezotte said.
“He is not a member,” the sheriff noted. “They did not have permission to be there.”
One of the males and the teen girl went to the bathroom and did not witness what had happened, but were close enough to hear the gunshot, Bezotte said. They were not injured.
Bezotte said the friend who fired the gun is “obviously pretty upset and distraught.” He did not release the man’s name.
Bezotte said his office will submit a completed report to the county prosecutor’s office for review, which is standard procedure in a shooting. He said his officers are not requesting specific charges, but possible charges could be negligent homicide or trespassing.
The prosecutor’s office decides what, if any, charges are filed.
Efforts to speak with officials from the sports association were unsuccessful this afternoon.