Wadesville, Ind. (AP) -- A woman who was fatally shot Thursday while trying to coax her dog from a neighbor's yard was hit by a bullet that ricocheted off the ground and under a plastic fence before striking her shoulder. The bullet from a .357 magnum pierced both the lungs and heart of Nicole Stroud, 29, Vanderburgh County Coroner Don Erk said. The Evansville woman was leaning down, trying to get her Shih Tzu dog out of a neighbor's yard and through a hole in the bottom of a fence when she was shot.
The neighbor accused of firing the gun, Melinda Lindauer, 41, was arrested on preliminary charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide. She was still being held in Posey County Jail on Saturday. Posey County Prosecutor Jodi Uebelhack said she believes Lindauer fired from a back window of her house at a dog that was loose from a neighboring house, where Stroud was visiting her grandmother. The Lindauers live directly behind Stroud's grandmother. Wadesville is about 15 miles northwest of Evansville.
The prosecutor said Lindauer might not have seen Stroud and probably didn't intend to kill her, but criminal charges still were warranted. Indiana law states that a person can only fire a gun at a dog if it is threatening an individual or livestock. "After we got all the statements, it was pretty clear this was a criminal act," Uebelhack said. "It's never an accident to pick up a gun and shoot it."
Uebelhack said a statement given to police by Lindauer's husband, Lonnie, indicated that there was an ongoing dispute between the neighbors over the dog. She said he told authorities the dog had previously dug up a cat that was buried in the Lindauer's backyard. Melinda Lindauer's attorney, Nick Hermann, said he could not comment on the specifics of the case. But he said that the Lindauers are distraught over what happened. "Their thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the lady who died in this incident," he said.
Bullshit. The bullet did not just hit Nicole Stroud's shoulder. It drilled into her torso, searing it's way through one lung, her heart, and then the other lung. It extinguished her life as surely as it destroyed the lives of those around her.
I have a hard time visualizing a 357 magnum bullet that could change direction underneath the fence so radically as to strike someone in the shoulder, laterally penetrating both lungs and the heart as it went through the chest. in the news stories.
357 magnum bullets do not ricochet off dirt, fly underneath fences, radically change direction to strike a person's shoulder and then penetrate through every vital organ in the chest cavity. Especially a person standing on the opposite side of the fence, as close as Nicole Stroud appears to have been standing. Bullets do skip and ricochet. They do change course or expend energy after impact. A .357 magnum bullet has a lot of energy to expend. The course this slug would have apparently been forced to travel to avoid the fence, strike the shoulder of a person standing 5-10 feet away, then change course again to laterally penetrate one lung, the heart, then the opposite lung, makes one wonder who the hell was investigating this shooting in Wadesville, Indiana. The Warren Commission? Bullets do not do magic tricks! There has been no official statement concerning whether or not a hole was present in the fence, but that is immaterial. Ricochet bullets you fired recklessly are as poor an excuse as not seeing the innocent bystander behind a plastic fence you shoot through. They do not diminish your culpability.
People who have just unwittingly shot someone, through ignorance, recklessness or carelessness, claim strange things. It is not uncommon for such a person to try to diminish their responsibility and liability, both emotionally and legally. Shooting a human being is an irreversible act. You can not get those bullets back. They are yours, and the damage they do belongs to you as well. The sudden realization that you have a person drowning in their own sanguine stew because of you actions often causes people to squeal "It just went off!" "I didn't know it was loaded!" "I didn't see him!" or "It must have ricocheted!" These self serving squeaks in the face of unrelenting reality do not mean that law enforcement or anyone else has to believe the excuses uttered by a person who just took a life.
I don't like little decorative dogs. It's OK if other folks want walking, yapping fashion statements in a furry bag, but they ain't my style. I like them even less when they crap on my yard. That doesn't mean I have a right to shoot the vile critter. A Shit-Sue dog isn't going to rip my trachea out and take my head off like the evil rabbit guarding the cave of Caerbannog. The animal was not a threat unless you believe Shih Tzu poop to be as lethal as land mines. A dog scratching under my fence simply means I need to block the damned hole with a cinder block or something. Just because dogs crawl under fences doesn't mean bullets do too.
Rule Four: Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
When deputies arrived at the scene, they found Nicole Stroud in her grandmother's backyard, surrounded by onlookers as volunteer firefighters performed CPR. Blood gushed from her mouth and torso with every chest compression. Posey County deputies detained and questioned the suspected shooter and her husband, Lonnie Lindauer. Nicole Stroud was air lifted to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Indiana. Deputies said they found a .357 magnum handgun on the bed in the Lindauer's bedroom. Nicole Stroud was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Deputies arrested Melinda Lindauer on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide. Neighbors who didn't want to talk to media, say Melinda Lindauer had fired her handgun in the neighborhood several times in the past. She is being held in the Posey County Jail Friday. Bond is set at $100,000. No court date had been set. Yet. Nicole Stroud is survived by her husband, her grandmother, and her eleven month old daughter.
You are responsible for every bullet that leaves the muzzle of your firearm. Ethically. Morally. Legally. Every bullet has a lawyer attached to it. Melinda Lindauer is responsible for her actions, her decisions, and her bullets. They are hers. She owns them. She pointed that gun. She pulled that trigger. It's a shame she was not mature and intelligent enough to manage that responsibility better. If she had, Nicole Stroud would still be alive.