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‘Accident’ rifle to be analyzed

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Posted: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 5:12 pm, Mon May 24, 2010.

The gun involved in a fatal shooting Saturday will be sent to the state crime lab for analysis.

Sheriff Scott Steward said the .223 caliber rifle reportedly had its safety engaged when it discharged.

Nicholas Bemis, 27, was fatally shot in the neck and declared dead at the scene.

Steward said Bemis and two others were rabbit hunting in the rough terrain when the man in front of Bemis slipped and fell backward, discharging the rifle.

The possibility of the man holding the gun facing charges “is there” but depends on several issues, Steward said.

“Much would depend on if he had prior knowledge of the weapon being faulty, if that turns out to be the case,” he said. “I would say he could more likely face civil action should the victim’s family wish to go after him.”

Commenting on the Enterprise Web site, a person calling himself “Casey” said Bemis was his best friend.

“He died in my arms. I love him with all my heart,” he said, objecting to commenters who accused the man holding the gun of negligence.

The names involved have not yet been released by authorities.

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