Skip to main content

Accidental Shooting Kills Oregon Teen: What Can We Learn?

Here's the latest tragic headline that came across the wire: Community remembers Forest Grove teen killed in Saturday shooting.

Last Saturday Cory Ward, 18, and Trenton Joseph Lester (pictured at left), 15, were involved in the incident, which is being called an accidental shooting by Ward and Racheal Ensfield, 14, who was a witness.

From The Oregonian:

Both Ward and the girl have told police that the victim and Ward were horsing around with a shotgun that likely belonged to Ward's father, said Forest Grove Capt. Mike Herb. They apparently stopped for a while, Herb said. But while Lester was sitting on the back patio near the girl, Ward walked up to Lester and shot him in the head "from fairly close range," Herb said.

Photo Courtesy of Lester Family

This story is very tragic and serves as a grim and powerful reminder that firearm safety must be practiced at all costs and at all times. It is also a reminder that two things get people "accidentally" shot: complacency and ignorance. Both of these can be rectified with proper training and a little forethought. If these two teenagers were respectfully knowledgeable of the firearm and the proper procedure for safe weapons handling, this incident would never have happened. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and one teenager is dead and the other may be going to jail for a very long time.

I first heard the term Accidental Discharge (AD) when I was a Marine Corps Recruit at Parris Island, S.C.  Since that day it has been a constant source of fear and stress when I am dealing with firearms.  I never wanted to be one of "those guys" that has had an AD. Those guys were viewed as reckless, idiotic and a liability in a unit. It was a branding that would get you punished and ridiculed. It was later as a police officer that the term AD was being replaced with the term Negligent discharge (ND).  This term better defines the image and hazard associated with the act.

In what ways are you ensuring that those in your circle of influence (including yourself) handle firearms in a safe and appropriate manner?  Personally, I teach the four safety rules and use analogies such as the "laser rule" to drive it home. For those that have never heard of the laser rule, it is simply pretending that there is a laser pointing directing out of the barrel of the firearm at all times. This laser cuts and destroys anything it touches. The idea is to keep it from destroying things you wish to remain intact, figuratively speaking of course. Anyone else use the laser rule? Use any others?

Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Cameras Don

Cameras Don't Lie: Subsonic 9mm vs. .300 Blackout

In this segment of "Cameras Don't Lie," a subsonic-ammo showdown, 9mm vs. .300 Blackout fired from AR rifles.

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

At the heart of the rifle is the Model 2020 action which wish designed and built with very tight tolerances thanks to Springfield's technology-driven manufacturing capabilities The stainless steel action features an integral recoil lug, and pairs with a fluted bolt employing dual cocking cams and an enhanced extractor for high pressure loads. The blueprinted and precisely machined action allows Springfield to offer the Model 2020 with .75" MOA accuracy guarantee. Despite being a production rifle, the Model 2020 should rival more expensive custom builds.

Benelli Lupo Bolt-Action Rifle Review

Benelli Lupo Bolt-Action Rifle Review

It is unlike any other rifle on the market because it offers features no one else does; those looking for a rifle that fits like a custom-made firearm should look no further than the Benelli Lupo.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Guns & Ammo stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now