Police Find Conflicting Reports on Fatal Shooting - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/20/04

Police Find Conflicting Reports on Fatal Shooting

It seems the more police dig, the more confusion they uncover. All that's really know for sure is that 11-year-old Ronald Willis, Jr. is dead. Lt. Victor Quintana with the Lubbock Police Department says, "Every piece of information we gathered up to this point, is leading us to believe it was strictly accidental."

Some witnesses tell police Willis, better known by his nickname "Tuna," accidentally shot himself while visiting at Parkway Village Apartments Saturday night. Others say he was shot by someone else. Quintana says, "You hope someone will come forward and say this is what happened. You have children involved as well. We'll try to corroborate based on the autopsy report (compared) to some statements."

One thing consistent in eyewitness statements is that the gun was small and shiny, but police only found a large, dark gun on the roof of an adjoining building. Quintana says, "The firearm that was observed at the actual shooting as opposed to what we recovered on the top of the rooftop seemed to be two different firearms."

In the police report from that night, it states a witness told police Willis may have gotten the gun from a relative. That would be a punishable Class A Misdemeanor. Quintana says, "I think that's why we're getting conflicting statements. You're still looking at the criminal offense of making a firearm accessible to a child."

Police are now waiting for autopsy and ballistics results. That could take several days. The autopsy should help police determine whether Ronald Willis, Jr. shot himself. Ballistics will tell them whether the gun recovered from the roof-top was involved in the shooting.

Quintana says Saturday's shooting demonstrates exactly how important it is to talk with kids about gun safety. Tell them the four cardinal rules:

  • Stop
  • Don't Touch
  • Leave the Area
  • Notify an Adult

Meanwhile, Councilman Floyd Price agrees gun safety starts at home and will help prevent something like this from happening again. He says, "It won't (happen again), if we as parents are responsible. My gosh, it's time for us to take responsibility of our children." The shooting happened in Price's district.

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