FRESNO, California (KGPE) – A 30-year-old from Reedley, who was playing with guns while drinking with his friends, allegedly shot and killed a 23-year-old from Clovis, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office – a tragedy deputies say was entirely preventable.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the call came around 10:30 p.m. Sunday about a person who was shot at a home on the 28000 block of Burrough Valley Road in Tollhouse. Deputies say 30-year-old Elvis Hernandez, 23-year-old Bradly Smith, and another friend the Sheriff’s Office referred to as Tim, were drinking and discovered firearms inside the home.
“Tim went off to bed, the other two men, Bradly and Elvis decided it would be funny if they loaded up some shotguns with rubber bullets and then went and put a scare into Tim,” said Fresno County Sheriff’s Office’s Tony Botti.
Botti says Hernandez and Smith threw a mattress over Tim and shot at it, causing him to wake up startled. Smith told Tim he could shoot him back to get even and put on a military-style helmet and vest.
“Tim grabs a shotgun, shoots him, hits him with a rubber bullet, doesn’t really phase Bradly, and then Bradly tells Elvis, ‘hey you can do the same thing’,” Botti said.
But Botti says Hernandez picked up a different shotgun, mistakenly loaded with a lethal shell containing buckshot. That mistake cost Smith his life.
“This is just a real cautionary tale, gun safety 101, you never point a firearm at somebody whether it’s loaded or unloaded, even if it’s a fake gun and to basically use somebody as target practice for fun, just not smart at all,” Botti said.
Hernandez was booked into the Fresno County Jail on involuntary manslaughter. His bail was set at $10,000 and has since posted bond. The Sheriff’s Office says Tim is currentlynot facing any criminal charges.