Neighbors complained. According to the news report, Roberto Bracey "removed the clip but didn't realize a bullet was still left in the chamber." At some point afterwards, Roberto Bracey had the gun in his hands, pointed it in the direction of his friend, Marquies "Hugga" Thomas, and pulled the trigger.
Thomas, who was shot in the chest, was pronounced dead at the University of Mississippi Medical Center approximately two hours later. Oddly, other reports state the gunshot wound was to the victim's leg. Bracey has been arrested and charged with murder.
It's a tragedy when a friend kills a friend due to negligence ignorance or stupidity. What many people may not understand, or refuse to accept, is that this tragedy was not a "freak accident" as Ms. McMillan claims. People who fire guns into the air in celebration are inherently negligent. They do not have any concern for gravity or perhaps they believe the lead projectiles will safely orbit the Earth for eternity. Celebratory shots fired into the air kill people almost every year. So, by the very nature of his prior actions of firing a gun into the air, Roberto Bracey was either woefully ignorant or he did not give a damn about the lives of others.
Reportedly Roberto Bracey removed the magazine from the rifle. I have to wonder if it was a lever action rifle with a tubular magazine. If the media cannot agree on the location of the fatal wound, then how can we expect them to get firearms esoterica correct? Lever action rifles are by far the most common 30-30 rifles. The 30-30 cartridge is a rimmed cartridge that does not feed well from a box magazine. A quick scan of any gun shop or pawn shop rifle rack is all that is necessary to determine that the 30-30 cartridge is far and away more common in a lever action rifle, whether Winchester, Marlin or other manufacturers. However, the Winchester 54, the Savage 840 and the Remington 788 do exist. All are bolt action, magazine fed rifles available in 30-30 WCF.
Lets suppose that Roberto Bracey did have a 30-30 rifle with a box magazine, and that he did remove the magazine but failed to check the chamber afterwards. These actions demonstrate a complete ignorance of basic gun handling. His ignorance does not absolve him of responsibility. If he were to don scrubs and a surgical mask, and attempt to perform cardiac surgery, would his ignorance of medicine excuse him from his actions?
No. There is the expectation that reasonably intelligent people will try to prevent the killing of others, and will abstain from handling items that may kill others if they are ignorant of their use. Roberto Bracey demonstrated ignorance, and he demonstrated that he did not give a damn. At least he did not give a damn until he suddenly realized the life was escaping from him friend. I feel sadness for Roberto Bracey. His grief must be a heavy burden. However, he is responsible for his actions, no matter how much he may regret them afterwards. He killed Marquies Thomas, and Marquies Thomas is in the cold January ground, never to breathe or walk again. Roberto Bracey and his family may try to shift blame to the slow response of an ambulance service, to the short staffing of an Emergency Department, or anywhere else they may dream up. The fact is, Marquies Thomas would be alive if Roberto Bracey had not behaved recklessly, negligently, and foolishly with a gun.
I do not think first degree murder charges are applicable, but there is definitely a case for negligent homicide. Roberto Bracey is where he belongs. If he ever handles a loaded gun again, hopefully it will be after he learns to use it safely.