Charges: Woman ‘accidentally’ pulled trigger, fatally shot boyfriend while handing him gun

A Minneapolis woman is facing a manslaughter charge after she allegedly shot and killed her boyfriend by accident during an argument Monday in Minneapolis.

A criminal complaint states police responded to a report of a man who had been shot in the stomach just after noon at Cole Townhomes Housing Cooperative on the 2400 block of Cole Avenue Southeast. The female caller said, “it was accidental.”

When officers arrived at the home, they found the victim laying on his back covered in blood from what appeared to be a gunshot wound to his abdomen. Officers gave him first aid before medics took him to the hospital, where he later died.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as 36-year-old Mark Holmes O’Dell. His death was the city’s 60th homicide of the year.

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Police talked with the O’Dell’s girlfriend, 39-year-old Janice Louise Hawkins-Green, who said she and the O’Dell had gotten into an argument, and the victim’s gun “went off accidentally” as she was handing it to him.

Hawkins-Green explained that after the shooting, the O’Dell’s 15-year-old daughter took the gun and put it underneath a bed downstairs. The complaint states officers found a Springfield XD Elite semiautomatic 9 mm handgun in the place she described.

That firearm model, prosecutors note, has both a backstrap safety and a trigger safety, mechanisms that require the gun to be held tight while the trigger safety is completely depressed for the gun to fire.

In a post-Miranda statement, Hawkins-Green told police that she and O’Dell had been in a relationship for two years and that they had gotten into a fight. She said she told him to collect his belongings and leave, and she got her boyfriend’s sweatshirt and gun from her car.

Hawkins-Green told investigators she was holding the gun with the barrel facing toward her boyfriend so “she wouldn’t shoot [herself],” and the gun went off while she was “shoving” the firearm and sweatshirt toward O’Dell, the complaint states. In a follow-up interview on Thursday, she reaffirmed that she was holding the gun by the grip with her finger on the trigger.

Hawkins-Green is charged with one count of second-degree manslaughter. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison.

She remains in custody on $150,000 bail and is due to appear in court on Friday.