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 Oregon. 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: Zachary Brimhall SUICIDE
Date: August 18-19, 2014
People Killed: 3 (including shooter)
Circumstances: Concealed handgun permit holder Zachary Brimhall, 32, shot and killed his father, Ray Brimhall, on the evening of August 18, 2014, before going on a shooting rampage and killing a stranger who was camping on the beach, and then killing himself. Brimhall’s mother said he was “a bit of a loner” who “didn’t have many friends, if any,” according to the district attorney. Brimhall and his father were both gun collectors and he had been target shooting with his parents earlier that day. After his parents left, Brimhall called his father to say his car had broken down, though this was later proven to be a ruse. When his father arrived, authorities say Brimhall used handguns to shoot him in the head and the chest. Brimhall then drove to a beach campground. Early in the morning of August 19, he opened fire on parked vehicles with a Romanian AK-SAR-1 assault rifle, killing David Jesse Hortman, 43, as he slept in his car. Brimhall then shot himself with a .44 Magnum revolver. Inside his vehicle, police found 10 firearms as well as small explosives. Brimhall also left notes that said: “The only thing that is relevant, however, is that I’m mentally ill, and have been my entire life.” He added: “I reached a point where it was either kill myself, or kill a bunch of other people first, and then kill myself. I chose the latter…See you in hell.”
Source: “Notes were found in shooter’s vehicle,” TheWorldLink.com, August 22, 2014; “Oregon gunman planned to kill ‘bunch’ of people,” Associated Press, August 22, 2014.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Jeffrey Griffin Boyce SUICIDE
Date: June 21, 2013
People Killed: 2 (including shooter)
Circumstances: On June 21, 2013, concealed handgun permit holder Jeffrey Griffin Boyce, 30, hanged himself while being held in the Marin County Jail in California. Boyce, who was from Oregon, had been arrested in California after, as his father described it, “he went running around Northern California with a bunch of guns and pointing them at people,” including a carjacking. When apprehended by police, Boyce had a pistol and an AK-47 assault rifle with him, six 30-round ammunition magazines, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and a tactical vest. Boyce was also the prime suspect in the April 28, 2013, murder of Kirsten Englund, 57, a retired accountant from Castro Valley, California, who was in Oregon visiting family when she encountered Boyce. According to his mother, Boyce was reportedly on his way to the Russian consulate in San Francisco to seek asylum when he began his California crime spree.
Source: “Slaying suspect hangs himself in Marin jail cell,” SFGate, June 24, 2013; “Carjacking, murder suspect on suicide watch,” www.marinscope.com, May 8, 2013; “SF-area police arrest North Bend’s Jeffrey Boyce after crime spree,” theworldlink.com, April 30, 2013.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Darrell Dean Laffoon CONVICTED
Date: April 18, 2011
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On April 18, 2011, Phillip Wilson, 31, was reportedly involved in an argument with his brother Preston, 36, when concealed handgun permit holder Darrell Dean Laffoon, 60, tried to break up the fight. During the struggle, Laffoon’s gun went off, injuring Preston and killing Phillip. Laffoon was charged with manslaughter, first degree assault, and unlawful use of a weapon.
UPDATE: In February 2012, Darrell Dean Laffoon was found guilty of second degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon in the shooting of Phillip Wilson, and was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison. The jury deadlocked on the charge of second degree manslaughter. In September 2012, Laffoon pleaded guilty to the lesser crime of criminally negligent homicide and was sentenced to four years and four months in prison to run simultaneous to his previous prison term.
Source: “Beaverton man pleads guilty to criminally negligent homicide in fatal shooting of his godson,” oregonlive.com, October 4, 2012; “Brother in accidental Beaverton shooting dies from his injuries,” koinlocal6.com, April 20, 2011; “Man arrested in Beaverton shooting that injured 2 brothers,” koinlocal6.com, April 19, 2011.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Kevin Moffett CONVICTED
Date: January 1, 2011
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On January 1, 2011, concealed handgun permit holder Kevin Moffett, 33, shot and killed Ruben Mata, 32, following an altercation outside a bar early in the morning of New Year’s Day. Police said that Moffett was among a group of people asked to leave Club 915 after a fight occurred inside the bar. A short time later, Moffett and Mata, a bouncer at the club, got into an altercation. According to police, Moffett shot and wounded Mata, who was transported to the hospital where he died from his injury. An officer who witnessed the shooting fired a single round at Moffett as he fled the scene. Moffett was later arrested nearby. On January 16, 2013, Moffett was sentenced to 11 years in prison, after he pled no contest to one count of first degree manslaughter for the shooting of Mata.
Source: “Kevin Moffett sentenced to 11 years in prison for shooting, killing, bar employee,” koinlocal6.com, January 17, 2013; Gunman apologizes for Portland bouncer death, gets 11 years,” kgw.com, January 17, 2013.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Tyler Smith CONVICTED
Date: June 10, 2010
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On June 10, 2010, 26-year-old concealed handgun permit holder Tyler Smith shot and killed his friend and fellow concealed handgun permit holder Tyler Baker while play-acting how he would respond to an armed robber. Police say that Smith shot Baker, 26, with a 380 caliber handgun. Smith, who told investigators that he had taken a firearms safety class and knew that guns and alcohol didn’t mix, acknowledged that he and Baker had been drinking. Smith was initially charged with negligent homicide. The charges were later upgraded to second-degree manslaughter.
UPDATE: Smith pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide for killing Tyler Baker. On December 14, 2010, Smith was sentenced to 120 days in jail and eight months of home arrest, plus five years of probation and 250 hours of community service. In formulating this sentence, rather than the three years in prison that the prosecutor had requested, the judge said that he had to take into account all the circumstances leading up to the shooting—including that each man had a blood-alcohol content of .20 percent and that they were playing with guns. Authorities said the men were practicing drawing their guns as part of a discussion of what they would do if they were held up in a robbery. Baker’s mother told Smith if there was one thing he could do for her, it would be to honor her son by spreading awareness abut the dangers of alcohol and guns. Baker’s wife of less than a year said that she did not forgive Smith and didn’t understand how Smith shot her husband after taking the firearms safety class required to obtain his concealed weapons permit.
Source: “Gresham man who shot Portland acquaintance while drinking gets jail time, home arrest,” OregonLive.com, December 14, 2010; “Gresham man faces manslaughter in shooting death,” StatesmanJournal.com, June 16, 2010; “Police say Gresham man was play-acting with a loaded gun, showing how he’d stop a robber when he shot his friend,” OregonLive.com, June 15, 2010.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Joel Kenneth Jensen CONVICTED
Date: August 7, 2007
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On August 7, 2007, Joel Kenneth Jensen, 29, shot and killed Debbie Davis, 58, following an argument at her home. Jensen and Davis had been having an affair which she reportedly broke off several weeks before the shooting. On the day of the shooting, Jensen went to Davis’ home and beat her husband Tim Hardin on the head with a pistol before shooting Davis in the head. Jensen then shot himself in the head but recovered from his injury. Jensen routinely carried a handgun in a fanny pack and had a concealed handgun permit. Jensen’s attorney argued that he was suffering from extreme emotional disturbance as a result of the affair, but Jensen was convicted of murder, assault, and burglary in February 2009.
Source: “Albany man arrested for love-triangle murder,” kgw.com, August 27, 2007; “Murder defendant testifies at trial,” Albany Democrat-Herald, February 13, 2009; “Jury finds Albany man guilty of murder,” Associated Press, kval.com, February 18, 2009.