Editorial: Senseless shooting incident is all too common in society
For much of the weekend, a promising South Lake Tahoe young man lay in a coma, his face a mess.
Shortly before 8 a.m. Saturday, a single bullet from a 9mm semiautomatic pistol struck Eric Domingo below the eye, may have clipped his brain stem and then exited the back of his neck.
Domingo, a 2005 South Tahoe High School graduate who played basketball and football for the Vikings, had emerged from a coma and was responding to some commands Tuesday, his family indicated, but doctors still are evaluating the extent of his injuries.
Investigators still are trying to piece together the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
Here’s what they know so far: Domingo, 21, and former STHS classmate Casey Curcie-Crummett, 20, were guests at a house on Tamarack Avenue where the shooting took place.
Police subsequently arrested Curcie-Crummett on suspicion of assault with a firearm. He has since been released from jail on $30,000 bail, jail officials said.
Friends at the scene of the shooting on Tamarack Avenue took Domingo to the South Lake Tahoe fire station at Ski Run Boulevard and Pioneer Trail after he was shot. The friends told arriving police the alleged shooting was “accidental.”
The investigation is ongoing. South Lake Tahoe Police Department officials said Tuesday that they want to speak to Domingo before releasing more information.
Regardless of the exact details surrounding the incident, this is just one more example of a society gone berserk. What exactly were the young men doing even near a handgun? They should have been eating breakfast at that time of the morning, for heaven’s sake.
And here are some other questions that pertain to this shooting and every other foolish gun-related incident in the United States: Whose gun was it? Was it obtained legally, and for what purpose? Was it locked up before the shooting? Did it have a functioning safety device? Did the gun handler know it was loaded?
From 1976 to 2005, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, guns were used to kill victims 64.8 percent of the time in all homicides in the 18-to-34 age group. Domingo and Curcie-Crummett are in that historically highest age group for gun-related incidents.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that in 2005, 203 people ages 15 to 24 were accidentally killed by firearms. More recent data is not available, but chances are the percentages haven’t fluctuated much.
Other alarming statistics come from Safe Kids USA, a group of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental childhood injury. According to Safe Kids’ researchers, unintentional shootings account for nearly 20 percent of all firearm-related fatalities among children 14 and younger, compared with 3 percent for the entire U.S. population.
Further, researchers say that in 2002, more than 800 children ages 14 and younger were treated in hospital emergency rooms for unintentional firearm-related injuries; 35 percent were severe enough to require hospitalization.
How in the hell does this sort of lunacy happen?
A young man’s life probably never will be the same because of an idiotic, possibly accidental episode with a loaded handgun.
Imagine the pain Domingo’s family and friends are experiencing: His mother describes him as shy, quiet, meticulous and dapper.
“He’s always been like that,” she said early this week. “He’s athletic and is always very nice to people. That’s why I don’t understand why this had to happen. He’s a good kid.”
Domingo’s football coach at STHS, Todd McIntyre, got to know his former player a bit better recently at Lake Tahoe Community College. He sensed the young man was on the right path.
” … It seems that he had grown up and matured,” McIntyre said. “As most kids do, he was growing up, maturing and figuring out life.”
We hope Domingo has a lot of time left to keep growing.
The former STHS teammates never will forget this lesson. Hopefully, neither will anyone who’s ever known them.
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