Article: Man negligently shoots his friend in Waterbury, CT

There is no “accident” here. Just pure negligence.

Rules of Gun Safety always apply. Even with blank cartridges and blank-firing guns.

0. Always treat the the gun as if it is loaded.

1.Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction

2.Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot

3. Keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.




A Waterbury man died and his lifelong friend and roommate is charged with accidentally shooting and killing him.

Dow Kling, 22, and Shawn French, 22, were firing blanks with a .22 caliber Ruger inside an apartment on Mill Street in Waterbury Sunday afternoon, according to police.

Police said the two were taking turns pointing the gun at each other and pulling the trigger.

blank (cartridge) scan, upload MH 15:52, 2005 ...

blank (cartridge) scan, upload MH 15:52, 2005 Jan 21 (UTC) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Both men thought they were blanks, but somehow live ammunition got mixed in, according to police.

Investigators called the accidental shooting “reckless.”

“I’m sorry. I wish it was me, and not him,” French said. “I wish I could trade places with him, I really do.”

Initially, police said French lied about the shooting. Police said an intruder entered the apartment, shot Kling and fled.

“I would describe it as senseless and preventable,” said Waterbury Deputy Chief Chris Corbett.

French changed his story and admitted to shooting Kling, police said.

“He thought there was a blank round in the chamber of his gun when he pointed the gun at Kling and pulled the trigger,” according to court documents. “Kling was telling him to do it.”

Arrest papers also stated there was a baby visiting at the time the gunfire went off.

French was arrested and charged with first-degree manslaughter as well as first-degree reckless endangerment. He was arraigned in Waterbury Superior Court Monday morning.

A judge ordered French to hand over all of his guns. Police said there were four in his apartment at the time of the accidental shooting.

Lee Worden, who is French’s mother, was at court on Monday and said her son lost “his best friend.”

French told Eyewitness News the shooting was an accident.

“I feel more guilty than anything I could think of,” French said.

French was released on a $25,000 bond and is back in court later this month.

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Posted in Gun Safety
6 comments on “Article: Man negligently shoots his friend in Waterbury, CT
  1. gunads says:

    Rule #3, keep the gun unloaded until ready to use, I don’t follow. Here’s why. By the time I need to be ready to use the gun, I won’t have time to load it. I keep two loaded guns, one in the car, one in my night table next to the bed, with a round in the chamber. Why? Because in the real world there might not be time to slide a round into the chamber. With the rest of your blog, I agree.


    • gunsafetypro says:

      The third rule is contextual. “Ready to use” values by situation. On display in a gun shop, the gun would be unloaded. In storage in a non quick access safe the gun would be unloaded. I like the floor safe option a lot for daytime/away from home storage.


  2. In our classes we use a slightly more aggressive variation of the “4 cardinal rules” of rules.
    1) there is no such thing as an “unloaded firearm” treat them all as loaded, deadly weapons.
    2) do not point your firearm at anything you do not intend to destroy. Pointing the firearm is signaling destructive intent.
    3) keep your finger off of the trigger until you have made the conscious decision to discharge your firearm.
    4) know your target and what is beyond.

    You have to violate two of those rules simultaneously for someone to get hurt.

    I like to add the rule 0 that states “unless you are cleaning, training or actively shooting, leave your firearm alone”


    • bob says:

      doortothefarright that is exactly correct! Same rules I live by. Empty guns kill!


    • Jon says:

      I like looking at my guns, holding them thinking about mods. Rule rule 0 is like a rule for stupid people to dumb to follow the other rules all the time, so you limit their interaction with guns. My AR is $1k+ piece of fine art I finger @%#$ daily.


      • Rule 0 is there for the same reason rule 3 is there. Keeping your finger off of the weapon is, in fact, a sort of extension of keeping your finger off of the trigger. It is not a rule for people who are TOO dumb to handle a firearm, it is a guideline for people who are mature enough to know when and why not to handle it.


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