Australian twins shot at Denver range

Discussion in 'The Club House' started by zhuk, Nov 16, 2010.

  1. zhuk

    zhuk New Member

    Australian twin sisters shot in head at shooting range


    November 17, 2010 - 2:00PM

    Twin women from Victoria were shot in the head at an outdoor shooting range in Colorado; one died, the other was critically injured.

    Arapahoe County officials have not released the identities of the victims, and Sheriff's Captain Louie Perea declined to name the sisters' home town or release other information until their family was notified.

    The women, aged 29, had taken a taxi to the shooting range at Cherry Creek State Park, south of Denver, on Monday.

    The local sheriff's office said their visas showed one of them had arrived in Colorado on September 7 and the other on August 19, with one due to fly back to Australia today.

    They had been at the Family Shooting Centre for more than an hour when they were shot.

    The incident was partly caught on security cameras, which allegedly show the two women hitting the ground.

    Mitch Hamilton, a worker at the centre, said it was impossible to tell from the video if the women shot themselves or each other.

    But he said the wounds were not caused by other shooters or a ricocheted bullet.

    "[The wounds] were self-inflicted. That's what it appears, that's as far we can tell," he said.

    "The video tape shows them simultaneously falling to the ground.

    "The police are done with their investigation [at the ranch] because they are not treating it as a homicide."

    Mr Hamilton said the twins were chatting and not doing anything unusual leading up to the shooting.

    "They were out there shooting for a good hour-and-a-half," he said. "They seemed perfectly normal."

    He said the range might typically have about 20 people shooting. They were monitored at all times by two range officers.

    Mr Hamilton said he was not there when the shooting happened but it had left staff upset.

    "[The range officers] are out there monitoring safety rules constantly," he said.

    "In a situation like this there's really nothing they can do. It's pretty rough. It's terrible. It's a sad day at the range."

    The owner of the range, Doug Hamilton, told The Denver Post the women were shot nearly simultaneously.

    The Post reports the women bought ammunition at the range and spent about 90 minutes firing small-calibre hand guns, even chatting between rounds.

    Mr Hamilton said the women showed no signs of stress when they arrived or during their stay.

    "The ladies hit the pavement virtually at the same time," he said.

    "They were definitely normal.

    "We are always aware and watching for signs. There was absolutely no indication."

    Captain Perea said investigators were not sure who fired the gun or guns, or whether the same bullet hit both sisters.

    The women were in the same shooting lane. In the lanes, shooters line up behind a wooden wall and fire through an opening that resembles a window.

    Captain Perea said it was unclear whether the surviving sister would recover sufficiently to be able to provide information.

    "We're looking at the last several days she was alive, see where they were and we want to confirm some facts," Captain Perea said.

    There was no apparent indication of a dispute between the sisters or anybody entering or leaving the area.

    DFAT confirmed the twins involved in the shooting were from Victoria.

    "The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can confirm that 29-year-old twins from Victoria were involved in a shooting incident at a driving range in Denver," DFAT said in a statement.

    "One of the women has died as a result of a gunshot wound. Her sister is currently in serious but stable condition in a Colorado hospital.

    "Consular officials from the Australian consulate general in Los Angeles are liaising closely with local authorities.

    "The department is providing consular assistance to the women's family in Australia."

    Australian Twin Sisters Shot at Denver Shooting Range

    An awful tragedy :( I can only imagine it was either a disastrous ND or something [heaven forbid] deliberate. It doesn't say whether the sisters had any firearms experience...but coming from Aust that's probably less likely than most.

    Only waiting now for the Greens Bob Brown to attempt to make some kind of distasteful political capital out of this death; in his ongoing campaign to ban semiauto hand(machine)guns...
  2. gregs887

    gregs887 New Member

    How in the **** does something like that happen? Two shots fired simultaneously and they both got hit in the head? There has to be something shady going on here, the odds of a pure accident in the way it was described seems way too high to me.

  3. zhuk

    zhuk New Member


    Yeah it does seem improbably strange doesn't it? If public ranges in the US don't require any type of prior training to attend without one-on-one RO supervision (not sure of this) then I guess it could be just a catastrophic accident :confused:

    Presuming more details will be released in time...

    LONGHAIR New Member

    double suicide maybe???...
  5. gregs887

    gregs887 New Member

    That was the only thing that made sense to me with the events as described. Hopefully the one girl pulls through and we can learn what actually happened.
  6. Shihan

    Shihan Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

    Headline is a bit deceptive. Gives wrong impression.
  7. zhuk

    zhuk New Member


    You have to realise its the Australian media, Shi. Almost uniformly virulently anti-gun, the headline would immediately spark a "crazy-psycho-goes-nuts-at-typically-redneck-US-range-kills-aussie-girls" knee-jerk response in many readers, before they got to the article itself.

    As would be the intended impact.
  8. dunerunner

    dunerunner New Member

    Sure does, and I would guess double suicide as well. They were calm and knew exactly what they were doing. Damned shame they chose to do it at a shooting range.

    Doesn't anyone jump off a bridge or building anymore??
  9. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    Hell, I have shot at that range- and it was a very well run range. Damn shame, but does sound like potential suicide pact.
  10. zhuk

    zhuk New Member

    If it is double-suicide, then its quite possible that no one would have suspected anything. Anyone planning that is not going to 'red flag' it by suspicious behaviour.

    Investigators puzzle over death of one twin sister, wounding of the other at Colo. shooting range


    By Joey Bunch

    The Denver Post

    The shooting of 29-year-old twin sisters Monday at an Arapahoe County gun range continues to puzzle investigators, and their family in Australia still doesn't know which sister is dead.

    The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade located the family in Victoria state in southeast Australia Tuesday evening. Because the women look the same, Arapahoe County authorities are not sure which one was killed.

    Both women were shot in the head, one of them dying instantly.

    The other was in critical but stable condition Tuesday night at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, unable to talk to investigators or shed any light on the mystery.

    The Arapahoe County Coroner's Office won't release their names until the identity of the dead woman is confirmed through dental records, tattoos, scars or other distinguishing marks.

    Investigators still don't know whether the shooting was an accident, a suicide or foul play. No suicide note was found.

    "Every time I get new information there's a new twist," sheriff's Capt. Louie Perea said. "We're keeping an open mind."

    Investigators have ruled out the possibility that a third person could have shot them.

    A surveillance video at the Family Shooting Center in Cherry Creek State Park showed both women falling backwards to the ground almost simultaneously outside the shooting stall about 2:50 p.m. Monday.

    The video did not show what happened inside the stall, however. No one entered or left the stall other than the two women.

    The women had been to the shooting range before and knew how to use the pistols they had rented, said Doug Hamilton, the gun range's owner. He would not say when they were there previously.

    One of the sisters had been scheduled to fly home to Australia on Tuesday, Perea said.

    One had been in the United States since Aug. 17 and the other since Sept. 19, according to their cultural-exchange visas, which often indicate participation in an educational travel program.

    Their reason for being in Colorado is not known.

    They had stayed at the La Quinta Inn & Suites in the Denver Tech Center, about 5 miles away, for several days until Friday, Perea said.

    The pair took a cab to the range. The driver told investigators he didn't notice anything unusual, Perea said.

    Neither did other people using the range when the shooting happened. The women were at the range for an hour and 20 minutes beforehand.

    "They were interacting with each other, and nothing seemed unusual," Perea said. "They were just a couple of gals having fun at the range."

    Suicides have occurred at the Family Shooting Center, one in 2004 and one last year, Hamilton said.

    I guess this is just illustrative of cultural differences, but I find this strange from a local perpective - you'd hear the howls of outraged protest from miles away if that happened here and the range was not closed. Not making any judgement, just stating the differences.
  11. winds-of-change

    winds-of-change The Balota's Staff Member

    "The women had been to the shooting range before and knew how to use the pistols they had rented, said Doug Hamilton, the gun range's owner."

    This kind of rules out my thinking that it was a case where someone thinks because the magazine is out that the weapon is unloaded but there is one round left in the chamber. (If chamber is the right word here. I'm new to guns and not always sure of my lingo.) I thought maybe they were teasing each other and pointed the guns at each other and pulled the trigger not knowing there was still a round in there. I know to never point a gun at someone EVER unless I intend on shooting them but not every follows that rule. Wouldn't the women have some sort of ID's on them at the range if they rented a gun or do you have to leave ID's at the desk until the gun is returned? It's terrible that no one knows yet which one is dead and also one wonders if the one who did not die will ever be 'well' enough to tell the story of what happened.
  12. kyleytxrialover

    kyleytxrialover New Member

    Well put

    rule number 1
  13. winds-of-change

    winds-of-change The Balota's Staff Member

    Yep. But people do stupid things.

    The first three things told to me before my friend even handed me a gun.

    1.) Never point a gun at anyone or anything you don't intend to shoot.

    2.) When first handed a gun, always check to be sure it's empty even if you just saw the person handing it to you check it.

    3.) Keep your finger out of the trigger until you are ready to shoot the gun.
  14. JonM

    JonM Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    firearms are a big part of our culture and except for a wackjob minority who believe that inanimate objects have minds of their own its no big deal here. guns are a tool just like a hammer or a steak knife. if it turns out that someone stalked and hunted them down to murder them then there will be an outrage. but if its a suicide our society generally doesnt care. the only thing that will stand out about it here was the fact that it is a set of twins that may have committed suicide. it is a terrible thing to happen and have no doubt our media will file that story away for the next attempt to ban guns. then they will trot it out years from now and pretend it happened yesterday.
  15. orangello

    orangello New Member

    Sad and weird. I will be interested to hear what exactly happened.
  16. Bigcountry02

    Bigcountry02 Coffee! If your not shaking, you need another cup Supporter

    When I watched the video and re-read the article.

    Did the women always take a cab to the gun range?

    Every range I have been at a shooting position is occupied by the shooter and if there is another, i.e. the trainer or spotter!

    Remember the phrase: "Calm before the storm", A sudden change in attitude and behavior. It means the person has already made the decision to die and feels relief that their pain can finally be over.

    Suicide (Latin suicidium, from sui caedere, "to kill oneself") is the act of a human being intentionally causing his or her own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair, or attributed to some underlying mental disorder which includes depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism and drug abuse. Financial difficulties, interpersonal relationships and other undesirable situations play a significant role.

    News from AOL

    "It was not known why they were in Colorado. They had been staying at a motel about five miles away and arrived at the range Monday in a cab. The taxi driver told investigators he noticed nothing unusual about the pair, police said."
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010
  17. wb_carpenter

    wb_carpenter New Member

    Why is this advertised as a shooting? The article even says self inflicted gunshots so they had a suicide pact or something.

    the article is VERY misleading.
  18. kenhesr

    kenhesr New Member

    Just out of curiosity zhuk, how hard would it have been for these two ladies to duplicate this in your country?? If it turns out to be a double suicide attempt, would it have been as easy to do down there? Rent the weapons and all?

    The location is the puzzler for me. If this was something they had planned for some time, there must have been a reason to do it in the states.

    No matter the cause, its a hell of a tragedy!
  19. 2hot2handle

    2hot2handle Member

    That range is where I shoot most often. I've met the owner, he was in fact the man that taught my three older sisters and myself's gun safety class. It's a terrible incident that will hopefully be cleared up soon. :(
  20. zhuk

    zhuk New Member


    Well there you are. Here it IS the tool which would be John Howard famously said after passing the 1996 laws, "I hate guns, they're evil."

    I'm actually suprised the Greens haven't made mileage out of this as yet - they (plus the 'Coalition for Gun Control') are usually the first to start ranting about bans when something like this happens overseas. Maybe they realise that pushing this in the face of a grieving Australian family is a political bridge too far, even for them.

    I won't say it would be IMpossible, but it would be extremely difficult. There are no public commercial ranges here where you can just 'walk in' and have a shoot. Of the few indoor ranges that do exist, you must already be licensed to gain admittance, and that means the mandatory theory and safety courses & naturally club membership (competitive use being the only legal & genuine reason allowed) plus in the case of handguns a compulsory 6 month probationary period must be observed where you are highly monitored and scrutinised in competition, and you must supply the range with written confirmation from your club of membership and the fact they are vouching for you.

    An unlicensed person may shoot on an approved range (not the commercial indoor variety though) but you are watched like a hawk under the direct one-on-one supervision of the club's RO. At my club that extends to only 2 shoots with either pistol/rifle before you must join the club and start the long, involved process of gaining your licence, and the club will not sign off on you to the Firearms Registry for that licence if they have any doubts about you whatsoever. We know all too well that any suspect decision about members only puts the whole sport at political risk for every shooter.

    This (by comparison) relative ease of access in the States may well provide the reason you suggest?
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010