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3:06 PM Tue, Sept. 18th

Airman from Prescott dies in accidental shooting

Airman Steven Crawford

Airman Steven Crawford

Five days after marrying her Prescott High School sweetheart, Caitlin Smith became a widow.

Her new husband, Airman Steven Crawford, died Monday evening at a Minot, N.D., medical center from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

According to a Minot Police Department report, officers responded to an accidental shooting in an apartment off the Minot Air Force Base at about 7 p.m. Dec. 20.

Crawford was taken by ambulance to Trinity Hospital where he died from injuries sustained in the shooting.

Smith, 20, married Crawford, 19, on Dec. 15 at the Yavapai County Courthouse in downtown Prescott.

Carl Smith, Caitlin's father, said Crawford enlisted in the Air Force two years ago. He returned from Guam in early December and "knew he was being deployed to Korea in February."

Smith noted that the shooting occurred as Crawford and friends were preparing to go to a shooting range.

"From what we were told, his friend was messing around and pointed a gun, which he thought was unloaded, at Steven and pulled the trigger," Crawford stated.

The police report noted that Nicholas Rouse was originally arrested for reckless endangerment. When Crawford died, the charge was amended to negligent homicide. Rouse is also in the Air Force.

Smith said Crawford's body would be released to the family following an autopsy.

The Air Force will conduct a memorial service on the base and then escort Crawford's remains to Prescott, where the family will conduct a memorial service. Smith said details are still being finalized.

The Minot Police Department is investigating the incident.