McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State news

September 23, 2013

'Cowboy style' gun twirling lands man in hospital

JAY, Okla. — An Oklahoma man is believed to have shot another man in the back while twirling a handgun on his finger like a cowboy as he was riding in the backseat of a car.

The shooting happened Tuesday in Delaware County, Okla., near the Arkansas state line. It was initially reported to sheriff's deputies as a robbery, said Delaware Count Sheriff’s Department Capt. Gayle Wells.

Wells said Rusti James, 21, was brought to an Arkansas hospital with a small-caliber gunshot wound to the lower left side of his back. James and his girlfriend, Marion Snell, 23, initially said that they had picked up a hitchhiker who tried to rob them and shot James, according to Wells. 

They told authorities that the hitchhiker got out of their car and fled after the shooting. Deputies searched the area but didn't find a suspect.

But when detectives interviewed the couple a second time, they confessed that that they had made up the hitchhiker story because they were afraid of the actual shooter, who they identified as 20-year-old Johnathan W. Gardner of Colcord, Okla.

According to Wells, the couple said Gardner and his girlfriend, Katie Jo Jenks, had been riding in the back seat of their car, with Snell driving and James in the front passenger seat. Gardner and James were playing with a small handgun, passing it back and forth and twirling it "cowboy style," Wells said.

Gardner was playing with the gun when it discharged, and the bullet passed through the front seat into the back of James, he said.

The couple told investigators that after the shooting, Gardner threw the gun into a ravine along the side of the road. Gardner and Jenks got out of their car and walked away, and Snell drove James to the hospital.

Police found Gardner about 30 miles away near Jay, Okla., and arrested him Tuesday night. Authorities planned to charge Gardner -- who has prior convictions for drug and robbery charges -- with possession of a firearm as a felon.

Details for this story were reported by the Joplin (Mo.) Globe.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State news
Seasonal Content
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Two women barely avoid being hit by train Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.