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A Florida man who reached for his pistol, thinking he heard a burglar sneaking through his home after midnight, mistakenly shot and killed his pregnant wife instead, county authorities said.
The gun owner, who told law enforcement he heard rustling outside his bedroom, allegedly fired one round blindly into the darkness of his Stuart home around 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Instead, the bullet struck his pregnant wife in the head, killing her, according to an incident report obtained by Oxygen.com.
Authorities allegedly later found the man outside his home, shirtless and in his underwear, cradling the couple’s toddler son as he screamed for help.
“I just shot my wife,” he told a sheriff’s deputy, according to the incident report. “My life is over.”
The man, who investigators didn’t identify, claimed he was unaware his wife wasn’t in the bedroom with him when he allegedly pulled the trigger, according to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.
Upon entry to the home, deputies found his wife, barefoot, lying flat on her back with a pool of blood around her head. Law enforcement found a black pistol between her legs. Another handgun was found on a dresser in the home’s master bedroom.
Investigators observed several bloody footprints in the home as well, according to the incident report. The couple’s two dogs, which were running loose when authorities arrived, also tracked more blood throughout the house. No one else was found in the home.
“This is a nightmare case,” Sheriff William Snyder said, according to the Associated Press. “You know somebody who thinks he’s defending his home, actually shoots his wife.”
Authorities said the visibly shaken husband has thus far cooperated with authorities.
“He gave us a pretty in-depth statement, in which he said that he awoke in the middle of the night, thought he heard somebody in the house, went to investigate with a handgun, saw a shape in the hallway and fired one round and unfortunately, it turned out to be his wife,” Snyder added.
No arrests have been made.
“So, though we do have a good statement from him, we don’t take anything to face value and we’ll continue investigating through all backgrounds,” Snyder said. “There’s a lot of investigative steps that we’ll have to make sure that he’s telling the truth.”
The case remains open and ongoing, officials said.
“Everything is still under investigation, it is not closed yet,” Laurie Weber, a spokesperson for the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, told Oxygen.com.
Meanwhile, county authorities cautioned gun owners with families to take the proper precautions when securing and handling firearms in their homes.
“When you have a home where you have family members, you have to be even more careful and wait that extra second and do everything you can to make sure you know what you’re dealing with when you’re about to use deadly force,” Snyder said.
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