Man's suicide apparently led to 2nd death: CoronerJanuary 8, 2008
A single shot from a muzzle-loading gun killed a Cromwell couple over the weekend in an apparent suicide with unintended consequences, the Noble County coroner said Monday.
Police were called about 9:15 p.m. Saturday to the Shady Acres Mobile Home Court, 3757 N 900 W, in Cromwell.
They found 48-year-old Kimberly Patches dead inside her mobile home at Lot 207, and another resident at the home, 40-year-old Shane Feightner, in critical condition.
Feightner was taken to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne, where he died just before 3 a.m. Sunday, police said.
Patches was standing within 10 feet behind Feightner when he shot himself with a muzzle-loading “long gun,” Noble County Detective Shawn Dunafin said.
That shot, the only one Feightner fired, went on to strike Patches.
Based on preliminary results of autopsies Monday, Feightner’s death has been ruled a suicide, Noble County Coroner Terry Gaff said. Patches’ death has been ruled an accidental homicide – meaning she died as a result of Feightner’s action, but apparently he didn’t intend to shoot her, Gaff said.
According to Dunafin, alcohol may have been a factor, although Gaff said it will be several weeks before toxicology tests are completed.
In general, a muzzle-loading rifle or other firearm is packed with gunpowder that ignites to fire a solid lead ball or bullet-type projectile, said Indiana State Police Detective Mark Heffelfinger, who could not comment specifically on the Cromwell case.
The Shady Acres Mobile Home Court has dealt with numerous police and fire department calls in recent years.
A man was shot with a Taser and arrested after he refused to surrender to police and let a woman leave his home in September.
In January 2007, 29-year-old Christine Ratliff drew an eight-year prison term for voluntary manslaughter after admitting to killing her boyfriend with a hammer in a home in the park.
That same month, the park saw its sixth unexplained fire since the summer of 2006. Several of those fires were ruled suspicious, authorities said at the time.