Family of Guy Who Shot Himself: It Wasn't Suicide

They want James Jewell's cause of death listed as an accident

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 31, 2014 3:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – The death of the Michigan man who shot himself while attempting to demonstrate how safe his guns were has been ruled a suicide—and his family isn't happy about it. Jennifer Jackson says her longtime boyfriend James Jewell, 39, wasn't trying to take his own life: "I was there. I know that’s not what he wanted to do," she tells the Detroit Free Press. She and his family want the death reclassified as an accident and the word "suicide" removed from the death certificate. Jackson says Jewell, whose blood alcohol content was found to be 0.20, had drunk six to eight beers and a couple shots, and was only mildly buzzed at the time of the shooting and not "sloppy drunk."

They had been relaxing on the afternoon of Feb. 23 at a bar, and about three hours after leaving, Jewell decided to give Jackson the safety demonstration. He was trying to convince her to keep a gun in her nightstand for protection, since he had been working late hours. But Jackson was resistant because, she says, "I don’t like just the uncertainty of whether or not it’s going to go off." Jewell's last words: "Look, I’ll show you one more time," Jackson says. "That’s when he put it to his head, and it went off." She says he knew the magazine was loaded, but didn't think there was a bullet in the chamber. The Oakland County Medical Examiner says that because the shooting resulted from a series of "purposeful acts," it was declared a suicide. He tells Macomb Daily his office will review the case if new evidence is presented.

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