Man Charged with Manslaughter after Accidental Shooting

Johnny Townsend

Meridian police were quick to respond to the scene of a shooting Friday. Now 22-year-old Johnny Townsend is charged with manslaughter after accidentally taking a 17-year-old boy's life.

"Charges were a result of an investigation into a shooting of a 17-year-old on Friday, Nov. 29, in the 3500 block of 30th Street," Lt. John Griffith of the MPD said.

Police believe only Townsend and the boy were at the home at the time of the shooting. Results of the preliminary autopsy have come in and Coroner Clayton Cobler says that helps to provide a little more clarity on what happened that day.

"It is a perforating gunshot wound to the head at a distant range, was the entrance wound, and it did have an exit wound also. So the gunshot actually is what caused the death," Cobler explained. "And from the evidence found at the autopsy, the gun was at a distance where it did not leave any residue, so that tell us it was at least 2 to 3 feet from the head."

After its investigation, the MPD does not believe any foul play was involved in the incident, only that the shooting was accidental.

The coroner says the boy was quickly rushed to Anderson Hospital, but his injuries proved to be fatal.

"According to the 911 it sounds like pretty immediately from the time it occurred until they contacted 911, and of course, he died at the hospital," Cobler said.

Officers urge anyone operating a firearm to remember to use extreme caution at all times.

"I think this case here speaks for itself, that you always treat a firearm as if it was loaded, and it's not a toy. So never point it in a direction you're not willing for it to be shot in," Griffith said.