TOOMBS COUNTY, GEORGIA — A homeowner mistakenly shot his cousin after the cousin broke into his home and reportedly tried to pull a prank by jumping out at him. Unfortunately for the homeowner, who had no prior warning, he believed an intruder had entered the home and prepared himself with a handgun. When his cousin jumped out in the darkened corridor, he was fatally shot.
According to Southeast Georgia Today, 24-year-old Calem Copeland jumped out in front of his cousin as his cousin was rounding a hallway. Faced with milliseconds to differentiate friend from foe in a darkened corridor, the homeowner shot at close range.
By the time he realized it was his cousin and not an intruder, his cousin was grievously wounded. Another person in the home contacted authorities and began administering medical treatment. When deputies arrived, they discovered Copeland in his condition and immediately took him to a nearby medical center where he succumbed to his injuries.
The gun owner is not being prosecuted because of the circumstances of the shooting.
“He thought he heard someone enter his home and had his pistol in his bedroom for protection,” explained Captain Jordan Kight of the Toombs County Sheriff’s Office. “As he was coming down the hallway, it appears Mr. Copeland jumped out to scare him and to pull a prank on him. The lights weren’t on in the hallway and he didn’t recognized his face. You’re talking about a split-second decision when two people turn a corner, one has a gun and the other one is jumping out.“
This was arguably a Darwin award, folks. It’s a horrible tragedy and it’s sure to deeply affect the family for years to come but the guy who staged a ‘prank’ ambush really didn’t rub his brain cells together before acting impulsively.
If you have relatives or friends who like to stage ‘pranks’, send them this article. Give them a heads up that tragedy befalls people who don’t think through their actions.
We’re not calling this gun owner irresponsible because he literally had a split second to identify a potential threat already in close proximity. He’ll deal with his own conscience relating to that event — he doesn’t need some outside source to tell him what he already does or doesn’t know.
This is a horrible situation. It’s something none of us would ever want to be stuck inside. Tell your friends and close personal associates to please strongly reconsider the sense in pulling pranks. A threat to your life needs to be taken seriously at all times. Your life may very well depend upon it.