Assault rifle goes off, killing child

The Associated Press /


GRANTS PASS — A 5-year-old girl has been killed and a woman wounded in Grants Pass after an assault rifle went off and shot them in an upstairs room of an apartment, police said.

A 30-year-old transient who was visiting the apartment was arraigned Friday on charges of manslaughter, assault and illegal possession of a machine gun, Chief Deputy District Attorney Lisa Turner said. The manslaughter charge alleges the killing was reckless, not intentional.

Police said Jon Andrew Meyer Jr. was arrested Thursday night without incident at the scene.

The name of his court-appointed attorney was not immediately available.

Bail was set at $250,000 and no pleas were entered, Turner said.

The district attorney’s information charging Meyer identified the girl who was killed as Alyssa Bobbit, and the woman who was wounded as Karen Hancock.

Turner said she could not divulge the make and model of the rifle, who owned it, or whether it was manufactured as a fully automatic weapon or modified later.

Police said Meyer was in a downstairs room of the apartment when the rifle went off there, and the girl and the woman were upstairs in the same apartment. The woman was not related to the girl, whose mother was also in the apartment, but not shot, Turner said.

A neighbor, Chris Mehl, told The Grants Pass Daily Courier that he heard a gunshot, then a rapid firing.

When he left his house, he said, he saw the girl on the sidewalk. It appeared she’d been struck in the head, and he tried to stop the blood, he said.

There was no immediate explanation for how the girl got from the apartment to the sidewalk.

Bill Dodder told The Associated Press that he heard a very loud sound while inside his house a block away, but did not immediately recognize it as gunfire. When he went to see what was going on, he saw Meyer outside yelling on his cellphone, apparently with the 911 dispatcher, and asking bystanders for the address.

Dodder said Meyer told the dispatcher, “There is no shooter! There is no shooter!” and added that he did not know the magazine was loaded.

Police said the girl was taken to the hospital in Grants Pass but died a short time later. They said the woman, 44, was shot in the torso and hospitalized in stable condition.