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Mon, Sept. 23

'Quick draw' practice ends in man's death

PRESCOTT – A 38-year-old Mesa man accidentally shot and killed his best friend Wednesday night as they were practicing gun-handling techniques in their Prescott hotel room, Prescott police said.

Both men were attending a firearms class at the Gunsite Academy Inc. in Paulden this week.

Greg Prophet, 38, of Mesa, died at the scene and now John Angal may face charges in connection with his death, which police believe to be a tragic accident, PPD Sgt. Pete Hodap said Thursday.

"It truly did appear to be what Mr. Angal said it was," he said. "It is tragic because these guys have been friends for at least 10 to 15 years."

"We let him (Angal) go home last night," Hodap added. "We had a family member come and pick him up and take him home. It doesn't mean that he will not be charged later on. At this point, we didn't see that it was in anybody's best interest to put this guy in jail."

Hodap said the reason police let Angal go was because they didn't believe that he shot the victim intentionally.

"He was definitely reckless, but it was one of his best friends and he was very distraught," he said.

At around 9 p.m. officers responded to the SpringHill Suites in the 200 block of East Sheldon Street, according to the PPD report.

When officers arrived, they found Prophet on the floor with an apparent gunshot wound to the lower chest, the report says.

Angal told police that the two of them had been attending a firearm class at the Gunsite Academy since Sunday, the report notes.

The two of them went to dinner with another classmate, and when they returned they began practicing 'quick draw' techniques in their mutual room, the report says. But before starting the exercise, Angal allegedly failed to clear his .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun, the report says.

At one point, "Angal pointed the weapon at Prophet and the next thing that he knew, the gun went off," the report says. "Prophet then stated, 'John, you shot me, call 911' and fell to the floor."

Police reportedly executed a search warrant for the room and recovered several handguns with ammunition, the report says.

Hodap said the Yavapai County attorney will determine whether to press any charges against Angal.

"We wrote it (the incident) up as a manslaughter report," he added.

He said that Angal was trying to resuscitate his friend when they arrived on the scene.

"When our officers got there, he was administering CPR to his friend," he said.

The report states that two officers joined Angal in that effort until emergency personnel arrived on the scene.

Hodap said that the Yavapai County medical examiner will perform an autopsy on the victim.

Owen Mills, president of Gunsite Academy Inc., said that he doesn't know much about the shooting because it didn't happen on the ranch.

"They were not supervised by our personnel and we really do not know what happened," he said. "They were involved in the beginners class, that is mostly concerned with safety."

Mills said 24 people have been participating in the class, which concludes today.

Contact the reporter at mburicadam@prescottaz.com

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