Monroe man killed in accidental shooting

Around 11:50 p.m. Saturday, Middletown police responded to the 2000 block of Queen Avenue for reports of two people shot.

Middletown Police Lt. Scott Reeve said a group of friends were looking at a gun that one of the friends had just gotten when James Terrell, 35, of Middletown, accidentally shot himself in the hand.

“He (Terrell) didn’t think it was loaded,” Reeve said. “He has told us the first time he pulled the trigger he had his hand on the muzzle … and he pulled the trigger and nothing happened. He backed his hand off and pulled again and a bullet went through his hand and into his friend that was sitting next to him.”

The bullet traveled through Terrell’s hand and hit the stomach of Aaron T. Johnson, 27, of Monroe. Both men were taken to Atrium Medical Center where Johnson later died, police said.

Police say the gun was a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun that belonged to Dennis Wunn. Reeve says Wunn is legally allowed to own the gun and alcohol is not believed to have been involved in the fatal accidental shooting.

Police are still investigating the incident and no formal charges have been filed, but Reeve said a misdemeanor charge of negligent homicide could be filed against Terrell.

“We don’t believe he (Terrell) purposely shot and killed his friend,” Reeve said.

Terrell does not have a criminal history in Butler County, according to Reeve.

Crying and shouting can be heard in the background during the 911 call as the caller tells dispatchers that Johnson is losing consciousness.

Johnson’s family declined to comment but did confirm that a visitation and funeral are scheduled for 5 p.m. Dec. 30 at Breitenbach McCoy-Leffler Funeral Home, 517 S. Sutphin St.

According to Johnson’s online obituary, he was born Jan. 2, 1987 in Middletown, and was the son of Russell R. Johnson and Kathi (Egelston) Johnson.

Friends and family members posted their condolences Monday on Johnson’s online guest book. Tiffany Hurst, of Berea, Ky., wrote, “You always knew how to lighten the mood in any room with your smile, you’re truly missed, RIP.”

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