NJ: Man kills wife while shooting squirrel
Jan 5, 2009
Cops: N.J. Man Kills Wife With Pellet Gun
Investigators Say Frank McDonald Accidentally Shot Dead His Wife,
Cheryl, With Weapon Used To Hunt Squirrels
Reporting Christine Sloan
WEST MILFORD, N.J. (CBS)
Police are calling it a tragic accident. A New Jersey man has been
charged with reckless manslaughter after accidentally shooting and
killing his wife with a pellet gun.
Frank McDonald is free on bail after allegedly shooting his wife to
death. Police said he accidentally shot her with a pellet gun he used to
McDonald did not want to talk to CBS 2 HD about the tragedy that
occurred inside his West Milford home this past weekend.
The 49-year-old, who is out on bail, has been charged with reckless
manslaughter after police said he accidentally shot and killed his wife
with a pellet gun that he allegedly kept around to shoot squirrels who
went near his bird feeder.
Captain Michael Coscia of the West Milford Police Department
described what allegedly happened.
"The weapon itself was being handled in the kitchen by the husband,"
Coscia said. "It was discharged striking the victim in the back."
Police said McDonald said he was cleaning the pellet gun when it
accidentally went off.
It's been a nightmare for the entire family. Investigators said the
couple's 12-year-old son was in a room next door when his mother was
Neighbors said the victim, Cheryl McDonald, was a great person.
"She's a lovely mom ... lovely child ... just a lovely lady," one
person said. "We shared a lot of laughs together."
Police said McDonald's pellet gun looks like one that can be found on
YouTube. It's a single shot weapon, meaning each time the gun is fired
it has to be reloaded with a single pellet.
You need a firearm identification card to own a pellet gun in New
Jersey and police said you can't just go around shooting squirrels in
"Squirrels fall under small game. There's a hunting season for them
and that's when they're supposed to be hunted," Capt. Coscia said. "In
his case he was explaining that they were bothering his bird feeders and
he was feeling he was resolving a problem on his own."
While authorities said Cheryl McDonald's death was a tragic accident,
they also told CBS 2 HD they're investigation continues.
Investigators are now waiting for autopsy results.