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Man using rifle as crutch when it fired, killing child

 Posted: 2:00 AM July 13, 2013

GRANTS PASS — An Oregon man told police he was using his assault rifle as a crutch to help him get up from a couch at a friend's apartment when it fired through the ceiling and killed a little girl upstairs, court records show.

A police affidavit said Jon Andrew Meyer Jr. told investigators the gun went off accidentally June 27at the Grants Pass apartment, the Grants Pass Daily Courier reported.

Defense lawyer Gary Berlant adds Meyer had been assured the gun was not fully automatic.

Meyer is being held on $250,000 bail on charges of manslaughter, assault and unlawful possession of a machine gun.

Authorities say he was responsible for the reckless burst of rifle fire that killed 5-year-old Alysa Bobbitt of Shady Cove and wounded apartment resident Karen Hancock. The girl and Hancock were upstairs in the same apartment as Meyer.

The little girl and her mother were visiting friends there, but just what Meyer was doing in the apartment with the rifle was unclear. Court records say his fiancee had kicked him out of her place, getting a restraining order, and he listed his current residence as his sister's home.

Meyer listed his occupation as lead bouncer at a Mexican restaurant, where he has worked for two years.

Though his fiancee, Victoria Kohout, told authorities that Meyer was a "big teddy bear," her June 20 petition for the restraining order described him as an "unpredictable drug addict" who had threatened her with a gun, and threatened to burn down her house, slash her tires and break the windows on her car. The judge noted in the file that Meyer had four guns.

Lori Nelson, who lives down the block, said she was startled by the noise of gunfire, and saw Meyer running down the driveway. Then she heard screaming and saw Danielle R. Wilson, Alyssa's mother, come outside holding the child in her arms.

"She looked up at me and said, 'Please, help my baby,' " Nelson said.


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