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18-year-old killed while showing off rifle

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / September 2, 1998

LAPLACE – An 18-year-old man involved in “horseplay,” trying to impress two teen-age girls, died Sunday evening as a result of a single gunshot wound.

Lt. Michael Tregre of the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office reported thatWilliam Spencer, 137 Lakeview Drive (off Peavine Road), died from a single shot from a 9mm Ruger sport rifle.

Tregre said Spencer was at home Sunday when Brandon Higdon, 20, arrived at the trailer residence he shared with Spencer in the company of two LaPlace girls, ages 17 and 14.

Tregre added the older of the girls was dropping off Higdon from church when he invited them to visit and see the new gun Spencer had just gotten.

During the visit, Spencer allegedly began playing around with a rifle, holding the barrel to his chest while Higdon held it. A shot went off atpoint-blank range, striking Spencer in the heart and lungs before striking the stove.

The sheriff’s office was notified that Spencer was on his way to River Parishes Hospital, and deputies met the group there. Spencer died shortlyafter arriving at the hospital.

The weapon was recovered, Tregre said.

The matter is still under investigation, Tregre noted, adding the results of the investigation will be forwarded to the office of 40th Judicial District Attorney John Crum.

There, a decision will be made as to whether charges will be filed in the matter.

Tregre added of Spencer, who had signed his organ donor card, “The organs he supplied could help 10 people, if there’s something positive to come out of this.”

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