St. Louis Woman Accidentally Kills Herself With Gun She Bought For Possible Ferguson Unrest

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A 26-year-old woman accidentally shot and killed herself late Friday evening with a gun she purchased in preparation for large-scale protests in the aftermath of the impending grand jury decision in the death of Michael Brown. The woman, identified as Becca Campbell, was a passenger in the car her boyfriend was driving when, per the boyfriend’s story, she began waving the gun around claiming they were ready for Ferguson. The gun then accidentally discharged and Campbell was struck in the head.

Below is an excerpt from CNN’s report on the incident:

The boyfriend, who wasn’t identified, told police that the couple had bought a gun because of fears of unrest related to the pending grand jury decision on the shooting of Michael Brown, the sources said.

He told investigators that as they drove late Friday night, the victim waved a gun, jokingly saying the couple were ready for Ferguson, the sources said.

He ducked to get out of the way of the gun and accidentally rear-ended another car. He said the accident caused the gun to go off and she was struck by a bullet in the head, the sources said.

The victim was rushed to a hospital but died.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported on the incident Saturday. At the time, it was just known that the shooting was part of an accident that occurred Friday evening in downtown St. Louis. A reporter for the Post-Dispatch, Paul Hampel, actually took a photo of Campbell protesting in Ferguson back in August. The photo shows her arguing with a police officer. Hampel tweeted the picture out after CNN reported the circumstances surrounding Campbell’s death.

 

St. Louis Metropolitan Police are still investigating Campbell’s death as they need to verify the validity of the boyfriend’s story. They are currently awaiting results from gun trace tests to see if they match up with the sequence of events as told by Campbell’s boyfriend. It appears that Campbell bought into the same notion that many in the area have in these last few weeks. Gun sales in the St. Louis area have spiked as residents feel they need further protection in the event that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson is not charged with any crime by the St. Louis county grand jury. Wilson shot and killed an unarmed Brown on August 9th, sparking protests in and around Ferguson.

However, the actual amount of violence and damage caused by protesters in the immediate aftermath of Brown’s death has been greatly overblown, which has likely led to the feeling that the entire St. Louis are will burn if Wilson is not indicted. While it is a given that there will be demonstrations throughout the area if Wilson is not charged with anything, protest organizers, activists and community leaders have been preparing for the event. Organizers have held classes to teach protesters proper ways of civil disobedience as well as provide basic medical training.

Of course, there will be those who use protests as a way to justify property damage or even looting. Even to that end, while there was damage caused in August when protests were at their most heated, perspective shows that the actual monetary damage wasn’t as bad as one would think. Jeremy Kohler of the Post-Dispatch wrote an article on Friday providing insight into what has actually occurred in Ferguson since August, comparing these protests to other events.

• Insurance claims from property damage due to Ferguson protests reported to the state totaled $250,000 after the first month of unrest; one prominent local insurance adjuster who processed three claims on West Florissant Avenue estimated damages were no more than $5 million, which included $1 million to $1.5 million for the burned QuikTrip.

• By comparison, damage to property in the 2001 St. Louis hailstorm: $2 billion. • And the 2012 St. Louis hailstorm: $1.2 billion.

• Another way of looking at it is that the two St. Louis weather events combined caused 640 times as much damage as the unrest after the Brown shooting so far.

• More perspective: In 1992, the damage to property in Los Angeles from riots and some 7,000 fires was about $1 billion.

Just to reiterate the generally peaceful but disruptive nature of these protests, activists organized a march through St. Louis’ Shaw neighborhood Sunday night. The Shaw neighborhood is where Vonderrit Myers was shot and killed in October by an off-duty St. Louis police officer. Over 100 protesters marched from Shaw Market through various parts of south St. Louis and made their way back to Shaw. Along the way, the protesters shut down traffic at various intersections. At the same time, there were no violent confrontations. Below are some of my tweets from the march.  

The grand jury reconvened Monday morning. Even if they come to a decision Monday, it is expected that they will wait at least until the following day to publicly announce it so as to allow law enforcement and other public entities to prepare.

Justin Baragona


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