Daniel Wayne McKinnonBirth: abt 1993
Death: January 8, 2008
Daniel McKinnon passed away in Dothan, Alabama. Funeral Home Services for Daniel are being provided by Byrd Funeral Home. The obituary was featured in Dothan Eagle on January 10, 2008, and Dothan Eagle on January 12, 2008.
The Dothan Eagle
Lance Griffin - Jan 9, 2008
For the second time in less than a week, a needless death will lead to a funeral for a 15-year-old boy from the Wiregrass.
Daniel Wayne “Danny” McKinnon, 15, was killed Tuesday morning in Dothan when a friend pointed a loaded .40 caliber pistol at him and pulled the trigger, thinking the gun was empty.
Instead, a bullet struck McKinnon in the chest. He was rushed by ambulance to Southeast Alabama Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Joshua Noel Jones, 22, was arrested and charged with manslaughter. He was released on $5,000 bond.
“This was a tragic, tragic death,” Dothan Police Chief John Powell said. “This could have been avoided. You never make the assumption a weapon is empty and you never point a weapon toward anyone.”
The death comes less than a week after 15-year-old Joey Drescher of Tumbleton was killed when his hunting companion fired into the woods near Shorterville at what he believed was a deer. The bullet struck Drescher in the chest. Christopher Michael Newman, 18, was charged with manslaughter in that case.
According to Powell, this is what is believed to have happened prior to the incident that killed McKinnon:
Four friends, Jones, McKinnon, Alicia Agler, 23, and Justin Whiddon, 19, had been riding around town in a Chevrolet Z71 pickup, “playing” with several firearms.
Whiddon and Jones had been pointing the weapons at each other and were “dry-firing” — pulling the trigger on an empty weapon. The four drove to a residence at the corner of Eastwood Drive and Ambrose Court and continued to play with the guns. At some point Whiddon and Agler got out of the truck. Jones picked up the .40 caliber pistol, pointed it towards McKinnon, who was in the rear of the truck, and fired.
Wilma Lanton, who lives directly across from the residence, said she heard what sounded like a “ping.”
“We didn’t think it was a gunshot,” said Lanton, who said she did not come out of her house until police and emergency responders arrived. “It’s just so sad.”
Agler called 911 at 8:54 a.m. Police and emergency responders arrived at 8:58 a.m.
“I don’t think either party was aware there was a round inside the weapon,” Powell said. “I think we need to remember the families on both sides are victims in this situation.”
Police recovered the .40 caliber pistol, two .22 caliber pistols, two .22 caliber rifles, a 7.62 mm rifle and a 7 mm rifle from the truck. The pistol was registered to Jones.
“Guns are not something to play with. They’re deadly,” Powell said.