No charges in accidental death at Rampart Range firing range

November 2, 2009

Investigators have decided not to file charges in the shooting death of an Aurora man last summer at the South Rampart Range Shooting Range in Pikes Peak National Forest west of Colorado Springs, saying it was an accident caused by a defective gun.

Prosecutors for the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said the evidence was insufficient to file criminal charges against Timothy Curtis for shooting Otis Freison Jr. on July 18. The shooting prompted the U.S. Forest Service to shut down the unsupervised shooting range.

Curtis told investigators he had finished shooting his Smith & Wesson SW9VE semiautomatic pistol that day and was walking toward Freison when he dropped the slide on the pistol and it discharged without him pulling the trigger. The bullet hit Freison in the chest and Curtis and other friends immediately called 911 and tried to save Freison’s life. He was pronounced dead by paramedics when they arrived.

Investigators said Curtis and Freison were close friends who were not fighting that day and Curtis was very distraught.

A forensic firearms examiner investigated Curtis’ pistol and discovered there was a defect which could cause it to discharge when the slide was dropped even if the trigger wasn’t pulled. Because of the gun examination, the El Paso County Coroner had left the cause of Freison’s death to be undetermined.

Call the writer at 636-0274.

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