The following vignettes describe the circumstances for killings not ruled self-defense by private individuals with permits to carry concealed handguns. The incidents below all occurred in Iowa. The descriptions include the current, known status of any charges filed against the concealed carry killer as reported by news sources as well as noting instances where the perpetrator committed suicide.
The Violence Policy Center welcomes any new information regarding the status of any case (with verifiable source(s)). Use this link to contact the VPC: http://www.vpc.org/contact.htm.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Spencer Lee Sloss UNINTENTIONAL
Date: September 18, 2016
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On September 18, 2016, concealed handgun permit holder Spencer Lee Sloss, 26, unintentionally shot and killed his sister Megan Sloss, 24, as he was showing her how to clean his gun. According to investigators, Megan Sloss was driving with her brother in the passenger seat when his Sig Sauer 9mm pistol went off, striking her. Megan Sloss was transported to Mercy Medical in Des Moines where she died. The siblings were on their way to a family event and planned on doing some target shooting. Megan Sloss was working towards a Master’s degree in social services and was interested in a career helping children and adults in need. No charges were filed against Spencer Sloss and the case is still under investigation.
Source: “Megan Sloss shot dead by brother after gun accidentally goes off,” scallywagandvagabond.com, September 22, 2016.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Spencer Arnold SUICIDE
Date: May 2, 2016
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On May 2, 2016, concealed handgun permit holder Spencer Arnold shot and killed himself at his home in Iowa City, Iowa. After Arnold got in a disagreement over the phone with a girl he was dating, he used one of the five loaded handguns on his nightstand and shot himself in the head. Arnold’s uncle, actor Tom Arnold, said he tossed away his own weapons “within a day” after Spencer’s death and has since lobbied for stricter gun laws. Spencer Arnold was discharged from the Army after a failed suicide attempt and was diagnosed as chronically depressed and judged to be unsafe around weapons. Nevertheless, Arnold was later able to obtain a concealed weapons permit in the state of Iowa.
Source: “Tom Arnold pens passionate essay arguing for gun control after nephew’s suicide,” Entertainment Tonight, August 18, 2016; “Tom Arnold pushes gun control reform after nephew kills
himself,” New York Daily News, June 1, 2016.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Martin Lawrence UNINTENTIONAL
Date: February 26, 2016
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On February 26, 2016, concealed handgun permit holder Martin Lawrence, 45, unintentionally shot himself as was exiting his vehicle. Lawrence, a corrections officer, was returning home from work at approximately 12:30 A.M. As he left his vehicle, he dropped his .38 Derringer which was not in a holster. The gun hit the ground and fired, striking him in the leg. The bullet traveled up through his leg and caused internal injuries. Lawrence was taken to the hospital where he died.
Source: “UPDATE: Corrections officer dies of accidental shooting,” kwwl.com, February 26, 2016.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Steve William Fordyce PENDING
Date: August 14, 2015
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On August 14, 2015, concealed handgun permit holder Steve William Fordyce allegedly shot and killed Donald Harrington in Waterloo, Iowa, outside the home of Harrington’s wife’s parents. According to Fordyce, his sister and another woman went to Harrington’s in-laws’ home after Harrington had become angry about children placing fruit snacks in the yard. Fordyce followed them and stated that Harrington rushed at him. Harrington left his phone on during the incident, with the final seconds caught on his brother’s voice mail. On the voice mail, Harrington can be heard saying, “I’ll (expletive deleted) kill you.” After that, a voice identified as Fordyce’s sister said, “He’s got a gun.” “Do it,” are the final words cited to Harrison before the recording was cut off when one of the rounds fired into Harrington struck his phone. Fordyce claimed he was acting in self-defense. Fordyce was carrying a 40 caliber handgun and had a concealed carry
permit issued in Bremer County. He was charged with first-degree murder.
Source: “Waterloo shooting victim’s phone records his last moments,” The Courier, August 3, 2016
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Alexander M. Kozak CONVICTED
Date: June 12, 2015
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On June 12, 2015, concealed handgun permit holder Alexander M. Kozak, 22, allegedly shot and killed Andrea Farrington, 20 at the Coral Ridge Mall where he worked as a security officer. According to news reports, Kozak was working at the mall on the night of the shooting, but left the mall and traveled to his home to retrieve his 9mm Glock handgun before returning to the mall where he allegedly shot Andrea Farrington in the back three times, then fled. Farrington was working at the mall’s information desk near the food court when she was shot. Kozak was issued a concealed carry permit on July 15, 2014 which was revoked following the shooting. Kozak was captured in Scott County and charged with first-degree murder.
UPDATE: On April 25, 2016, Alexander Kozak was found guilty of first degree murder in the death of Andrea Farrington.
Source: “Alexander Kozak guilty of first-degree murder in mall shooting,” press-citizen.com, April 25, 2016; “Sheriff: Coral Ridge Mall shooter had permit to carry,” The Gazette, June 15, 2015; “Officials say they won’t comment on Coral Ridge Mall shooter’s motive,” kcrg.com, June 15, 2015.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: James Ernst II CONVICTED
Date: December 6, 2014
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On December 6, 2014, concealed handgun permit holder James Ernst II, 26, allegedly shot and killed Orintheo Campbell Jr., 23, following a fight between two women in the parking lot of a Prime Mart convenience store. According to the Black Hawk County Attorney, “This was a girl fight between Shaumara [Taylor] and Ashley [Norris], and the defendant took it upon himself to retrieve his weapon from his vehicle, walk around that vehicle and open fire.” Norris and Taylor had been involved in an earlier dispute at a child’s birthday party, and encountered each other outside the Prime Mart at approximately 1:25 AM. “Me and her had kind of a stare down,” according to Norris. Norris and Taylor began physically fighting and were separated by bystanders before the fight started up again. After the fight was broken up a second time, Norris went toward her car to retrieve a shoe that she lost in the scuffle when she heard gunfire. A friend of Norris’ said she saw Ernst start shooting, and Norris said she saw Ernst holding the gun after the shooting. Campbell was hit in the chest and neck, and died a short time after arriving at the hospital. Ernst was charged with first degree murder.
UPDATE: In February 2016, James Ernst II was found guilty of first degree murder in the death of Orintheo Campbell. On April 12, 2016, Ernst was sentenced to life in prison.
Source: “Judge sentences Ernst to life for December 2014 murder,” kcrg.com, April 12, 2016; “Testimony begins in December 2014 homicide trial,” wcfcourier.com, February 18, 2016.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Aaron E. Scott SUICIDE
Date: April 1, 2014
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On April 1, 2014, concealed handgun permit holder Aaron E. Scott, 30, shot and killed himself following a shootout with a police officer in Maquoketa, Iowa. The police officer, Sgt. Brendan Zeimet, saw Scott sitting alone in his truck just before 3 AM. He approached the vehicle and determined that Scott was intoxicated. Scott eventually exited the vehicle and raised an assault rifle from behind the truck’s door, ignoring the officer’s order to put the gun down, at which point the officer fired. In the ensuing shootout, Scott fired between 14 and 19 times, hitting his own truck door at least seven times, Zeimet’s squad car at least five times, and shooting Zeimet once in the arm. Shortly thereafter, Scott was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Scott was found with a cache of ammunition and three other weapons: a rifle, a shotgun, and a handgun. According to a county attorney, he had a history of mental health problems and alcohol abuse. Scott had argued with his girlfriend and left a suicide note at his home that night. Scott also held a grudge against Maquoketa police and told his ex-wife that he “had a score to settle.”
Source: “Video shows gunfight erupt in Maquoketa,” Dubuque Telegraph Herald, April 15, 2014.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Dennis L. Koopman SUICIDE
Date: February 21, 2014
People Killed: 2 (including shooter)
Circumstances: On February 21, 2014, concealed handgun permit holder Dennis L. Koopman, 54, shot and killed his estranged wife, LuElla Koopman, 52, and then took his own life. The shooting took place in front of LuElla Koopman’s condominium in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. According to police, Dennis Koopman used his own vehicle to block in his wife after she parked her car. He then got out of the vehicle and opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle, killing her, before turning the rifle on himself. Police say Koopman was also armed with a handgun. The couple had been married since 1981, and Dennis Koopman’s mother said his wife had asked him for a divorce the previous month and then moved out of their home. His mother said “his heart was broken” because of the pending divorce. According to his mother, Koopman was an avid hunter who also enjoyed other outdoor activities.
Source: “Police identify suspect, victim in murder-suicide in southwest Cedar Rapids,” The Gazette, February 24, 2014.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Robert Livingston SUICIDE
Date: January 30, 2014
People Killed: 3 (including shooter)
Circumstances: On January 30, 2014 concealed handgun permit holder Robert Livingston, 47, shot and killed his 41-year-old wife Ingrid Huber Livingston and his 73-year old mother-in-law Linda Huber before taking his own life in Huber’s home. Livingston’s two minor daughters were inside their grandmother’s home at the time, but were unhurt. Cedar Rapids police had been called to Livingston’s home just two nights before the shooting, and had visited his home a total of six times since the prior June. Livingston had been issued his concealed carry permit on January 17, 2013.
Source: “Police say officers visited Cedar Rapids home two nights before shooting deaths,” www.thegazette.com, January 31, 2014.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Benton Wingrove CONVICTED
Date: March 16, 2013
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On March 16, 2013, concealed handgun permit holder Benton Wingrove, 27, shot and killed Adam Lary, 29 following an argument at Cheers, a bar in Dow City, Iowa. After arguing in the bar, Wingrove and Lary left Cheers to take the argument outside. Wingrove eventually returned, out of breath. He then went back outside the bar and witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots and a car engine revving. Wingrove later called 911 and reported that he shot his pistol at a car that swerved. When police arrived on the scene they found Wingrove with his 40 caliber Springfield Armory pistol laying nearby on the ground. At least 15 bullet casings were found at the scene of the shooting, and the shots struck Lary’s Ford Taurus in several locations. Lacy was struck in the chest and died at the hospital a short time later. Wingrove was charged with first degree murder and several lesser charges. In August 2013, Wingrove plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter, reckless use of a firearm, and intimidation with a dangerous weapon with the intent to injure or provoke fear. In September 2013, Wingrove was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Source: “Dow City, Iowa man sentenced for murder,” ktiv.com, September 27, 2013; “Wingrove pleads guilty,” Denison Bulletin & Review, August 27, 2013; “Man accused of murder fired 15 shots at victim’s car,” Daily Times Herald, March 26, 2013.