New Dad Shot While Welcoming Baby Home

Freak accident after Florida neighbor's gun discharges
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2014 8:17 AM CDT
New Dad Shot While Welcoming Baby Home
Stock image   (Shutterstock)

Steven Justin Ayers was celebrating the arrival of his new baby at the home he and his wife had just bought in September when a bizarre accident—one that an officer labels as having "one in infinity" odds—took his life. The 33-year-old guitar teacher, his wife, their 3-day-old baby, and family members were gathered Tuesday night at the home in Panama City, Fla., when a bullet entered the home and struck Ayers in the back of the head, killing him. Police arrived and found neighbor Charles Edward Shisler, 62, in his backyard; he lives in a home directly behind the Ayers, the officer tells WJHG. Shisler, at first "extremely belligerent," ultimately admitted to the shooting but said it was an accident, the News Herald reports.

"The damn gun doesn’t usually shoot," he said, according to the arrest report. "You have to squeeze the hell out of the trigger to shoot it." He said he picked up the loaded 9mm pistol by its trigger, and the gun discharged. The bullet traveled some 200 feet—through a window screen, a wooded area, the Ayers' sliding glass back door, and into their house. More than four hours after the shooting, a blood test found Shisler's BAC was 0.079, according to authorities; Florida's legal limit for driving is 0.08, the Raw Story notes. He has been charged with manslaughter as well as possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; he had a previous felony weapons conviction. "I had just gotten a picture of [Ayers] and the baby which was just born Father’s Day," a close friend of Ayers tells WMBB. "The look on his face was just priceless." (In October, another Florida man who killed himself accidentally hit his neighbor with the same bullet.)

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