The Washington Times-Herald

Z_CNHI News Service

September 19, 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
Z_CNHI News Service
  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Wildcats aren't champs but we're all still watching Calipari

    Kentucky coach John Calipari is a college basketball phenom for his ability to knit together championship-caliber teams of freshmen. How long will Calipari's success last as other coaches catch on?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • bomb1 VIDEO: A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo