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 Idaho. 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: Scott M. White CONVICTED
Date: February 24, 2019
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On February 24, 2019, concealed handgun permit holder Scott. M. White, 33, allegedly shot and killed Michael C. “Topher” Clark, 45, with a handgun in the parking lot of the Tipsy Pine Bar in Hayden, Idaho. Witnesses say White entered the bar and loudly sang along to the music he played on the jukebox. Clark, who frequented the bar, asked him “What’s your problem?” several times and then advised him to go home. The two men then got into a fight during which White punched Clark in the face. Clark then followed White outside the bar where the two men fought again. White then stood up and allegedly shot Clark, who was still on the ground, several times at close range. Clark died an hour later after being rushed to Kootenai Health. When police arrived, White told detectives that he always carries a concealed handgun and his firearms training taught him to shoot until the threat was “stopped.” Five shell casings were found at the scene and medical reports showed that Clark was shot six times. White’s bar tab showed that he had multiple drinks and he later told police he had several beers before going to the bar. Almost two hours after the shooting, White had a blood alcohol content of .228. His criminal record included two DUIs and driving without privileges. White was charged with first degree murder, with bond set at $1 million because of the nature of the crime, the number of shots fired, and White’s history of alcohol abuse.
UPDATE: In December 2019, Scott M. White pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Michael “Topher” Clark. In March 2020, White was sentenced to at least 25 years in prison.
Source: “Coeur D’Alene man sentenced 25 to life after fatal bar fight,” Associated Press, March 14, 2020; “Man who pulled gun during Hayden bar fight pleads guilty to murder,” spokesman.com, December 23, 2019; “Bond set for suspected shooter in deadly fight,” bonnercountydailybee.com, February 25, 2019.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Veronica Rutledge UNINTENTIONAL
Date: December 30, 2014
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On December 30, 2014, concealed handgun permit holder Veronica Rutledge, 29, was unintentionally shot and killed by her two-year-old son while shopping in a Walmart store. Rutledge was shopping with her son and three young nieces when her son, who was sitting in a shopping cart, reached into her purse and unintentionally fired the gun one time, striking her in the head and killing her. According to Rutledge’s father-in-law, she had a 9mm Smith & Wesson pistol tucked into a purse specifically designed for concealed carry which she had just received as a Christmas gift. Rutledge’s family said that she had completed training and understood gun safety. Rutledge’s concealed carry permit was issued in the state of Washington. According to authorities, it is common for residents of other states to obtain permits from Washington because they are more widely recognized around the country. Lt. Stu Miller of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office explained, “A Washington permit, you can use in a lot more states than an Idaho standard permit.”
Source: “More details released about Hayden Walmart shooting,” krem.com, January 1, 2015; “Mom shot, Killed By 2-Year-Old Son at Walmart,” ABC News, January 2015.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Ernesto Bustamante SUICIDE
Date: August 22, 2011
People Killed: 2 (including shooter)
Circumstances: On August 22, 2011, concealed handgun permit holder Ernesto Bustamante, 31, shot and killed graduate student Katy Benoit, 22, before taking his own life. Bustamante, a professor at the University of Idaho, had recently dated Benoit, who had ended the relationship after he displayed violent tendencies—including threatening her life with a gun numerous times. According to news reports, three days after resigning his position at the college, Bustamante shot Benoit 11 times outside her home with a Smith & Wesson M&P .45 handgun. He then checked into a motel and killed himself with a Smith & Wesson .44 revolver the next day. An additional four handguns were found in the hotel room with Bustamante along with prescription medications for severe anxiety, epilepsy, depression, and bipolar disorder. Bustamante had multiple personalities and was known to refer to himself as “psychopathic killer”and “the beast.” According to one student, Bustamante informed the class whenever he developed a new personality, referred to each personality by number, and finished the semester with six personalities. Said one student, “We kind of referred to him as ‘the crazy doctor’—not like an insult, but that’s what he was. I was shocked because I knew he had issues, but I didn’t think it was that bad. We thought he had everything under control.”
Source: “Sheriff: UI professor had cleared background check,” Associated Press, September 1, 2011; “Details emerge on Bustamante, prescriptions, weapons and a new job,” IdahoStatesman.com, August 27, 2011; “Bustamante told classes of his mental problems,” IdahoStatesman.com, August 26, 2011.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Robert Dean Hall CONVICTED
Date: March 11, 2011
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On March 11, 2011, concealed handgun permit holder Robert Dean Hall, 42, shot and killed Emmet Corrigan, 30, in a Walgreens parking lot. Hall’s wife Kandi worked for Corrigan at his law office and revealed in court testimony that she and Corrigan were having an affair. According to prosecutors, Corrigan and Kandi Hall had met with an attorney on the day of the shooting to get information about Kandi filing for a divorce and obtaining an order of protection for Kandi from Robert Hall. On the day of the shooting, Kandi Hall met Corrigan in the Walgreens parking lot and they left together in Corrigan’s vehicle. They purchased gas and drove around looking at houses and had intercourse in Corrigan’s car before returning to the Walgreens parking lot. During the time Kandi Hall and Corrigan were together, Robert Hall called Kandi and asked if she was with Corrigan. Corrigan grabbed Kandi’s phone and spoke to Hall, saying, “Yeah,
f–ing crack your head,” and “Yeah, just wait there. We’ll be there in a minute.” When they returned to the parking lot, Robert Hall was waiting for them. After a confrontation, Robert Hall shot Corrigan in the head and chest, killing him. In October 2012, Hall was found guilty of second degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of that offense. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison. In October 2015, an appeals court upheld his conviction.
Source: State of Idaho v. Robert Dean Hall, Court of Appeals of Idaho, October 21, 2015; “Robert Hall found guilty of killing attorney Emmett Corrigan,” kboi2.com, October 25, 2012; “Hall pleads not guilty; prosecutors won’t seek death penalty in attorney’s shooting death,” Associated Press, April 21, 2011.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Chris Stone CONVICTED
Date: August 29, 2010
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On August 29, 2010, concealed handgun permit holder Chris Stone, 50, shot and killed his wife Florence, 32, with a pistol in the driveway of her former home. Florence Stone had come to the house to collect personal items. Stone claimed that he acted in self defense and that his spouse had stabbed him in the abdomen with a steak knife as she stood by her minivan. Prosecutors said the evidence showed that in fact she had been held down, a gun placed to the back of her neck, and shot twice. Mail intercepted from Stone while in prison following the shooting revealed that he had told another prisoner that he had actually stabbed himself. In September 2011, Chris Stone was sentenced to 20 years in prison with nine years fixed before he would be eligible for parole for second degree murder. At sentencing, Stone admitted that he did not act in self defense in the shooting. The couple had two children, a 12-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl.
Source: “Chris Stone of Caldwell, sentenced for murdering estranged wife, confirms expert’s theory,” The Idaho Statesman, September 23, 2011.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Jeremy J. Hobbs CONVICTED
Date: March 14, 2009
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On March 14, 2009, Jeremy J. Hobbs, 27, shot and killed Ahmed Cepalo, 29, in the early morning in the parking lot outside Southwest Boise’s Backstreet Billiards. According to witnesses, Hobbs and another man starting arguing inside the pool hall. The argument continued into the parking lot where Cepalo, who knew both men, tried to calm them down. A shoving match then broke out between Hobbs and Cepalo. Hobbs then allegedly pulled out a small revolver and shot Cepalo five times, twice in the hip and three times in the back. Cepalo died in the parking lot of internal bleeding. According to police, witnesses all said that Cepalo appeared to be trying to break up the argument when he was shot. Hobbs, who according to Ada County Sheriff’s officials had a concealed handgun permit, pleaded not guilty to second degree murder.
UPDATE: On April 29, 2010, District Judge Timothy Hansen declared a mistrial in the case after the jury failed to reach a verdict in the week-long trial. A retrial was scheduled to begin on August 30, 2010.
UPDATE: On March 22, 2011, Hobbs was sentenced to 30 years in prison with the right to ask for parole after serving 15 years. Hobbs was originally charged with second degree murder, but his trial ended with a hung jury. In February 2011, Hobbs pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
Source: “Boise man gets 15 years for pool hall shooting,” Associated Press, March 23, 2011; “Second trial date set in pool hall shooting,” Associated Press, May 17, 2010; “Hung jury in pool hall shooting death,” Associated Press, April 29, 2010; “Man fights second-degree murder charge in Boise pool-hall shooting,” IdahoStatesman.com, June 9, 2009; “Murder suspect tells Boise police pool hall shooting was self-defense,” IdahoStatesman.com, March 16, 2009.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Jason Kenneth Hamilton SUICIDE
Date: May 19, 2007
Total Killed: 4 (including shooter)
Law Enforcement Officers Killed: 1
Circumstances: On May 19, 2007, Jason Kenneth Hamilton, 36, a member of the white supremacist group Aryan Nations, shot and killed his wife, a police officer, and a church sexton, and wounded three others before turning the gun on himself in a shooting spree in Moscow, Idaho. Hamilton had a concealed handgun permit “despite a [previous] domestic violence conviction that should have barred him from owning guns.”
Source: “Shooter Linked to Aryans; Killer also had federal license for automatic weapons,” Spokesman Review, May 23, 2007; “Authorities investigate Hamilton’s gun purchase; Mass killer apparently obtained the automatic weapon late in 2004 or early in 2005; Ambush aftermath,” Lewiston Morning Tribune, May 24, 2007.