Cops: Joe Colter Accidentally Shot Friend, Says He Never Received Handgun's Owner's Manual
Joe Colter didn't receive an owner's manual when he bought his 9mm handgun. If he had, he might have read the part that explains how when you rack the slide to eject a bullet, another bullet takes its place. And he might have prevented the accidental death of a friend.
Police say Colter, a 20-year-old Glendale resident, admitted he and a friend were joking around Wednesday night when he unintentionally shot and killed the friend, who is not named in court documents.
Just before midnight, Colter and some friends played video games at an apartment in Maryvale. Colter had the 9mm in his back pocket, which he had bought three months earlier online. The friends were teasing each other and commenting about the gun.
Colter says he had fired the handgun once before, at a range. He says he'd shot 14 rounds using the gun and has never been trained to use a gun. (Also, he never should have been able to buy the weapon because he's under 21. Furthermore, it's illegal to carry a concealed weapon if you're under 21.)
Colter reached his hand into his back pocket and, keeping it hidden behind his back, racked the gun but neglected to take the clip out, according to records. When the live bullet ejected, another took its place.
Colter pointed the gun at his friend and pulled the trigger. Instead of hearing a metallic click, he heard a bang.
His friend fell to the floor, shot in the right shoulder.
Colter tried to render aid and called police. Emergency responders rushed the victim to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he eventually died.
Police spoke with Colter and other witnesses at the gathering, who all said it appeared to be an accident and that the two men were good friends.
Colter is being charged with reckless manslaughter.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.