Man says he accidentally shot friend in Waterbury - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Man says he accidentally shot friend in Waterbury

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The following photo of Shawn French was provided by the Waterbury Police Department. The following photo of Shawn French was provided by the Waterbury Police Department.

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. 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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