Kingsport man arrested after accidentally shooting wife; bullet travels through bedroom of sleeping neighbors

Rain Smith • Oct 12, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — A Kingsport man was arrested on reckless endangerment charges after accidentally shooting his wife early Sunday morning.

The bullet also traveled through the wall of the couple’s apartment and traveled through the bedroom of neighbors sleeping next door, police said.

According to an incident report from the Kingsport Police Department, officers responded to 440 Eastley Court, Apt. 9, about 2:40 a.m. The victim, Dona Cope, told police she was “accidentally” shot. According to Cope and her husband, Richard D. Cope, same address, “when Mr. Cope was taking out his gun, it ‘accidentally went off.’”

Officers observed a bullet hole in Dona Cope’s chest. The police report states bleeding was minimal and controlled, and she was transported to the hospital by EMS.

A .38-caliber revolver was found on the bed of the upstairs bedroom beside a black holster. Police also observed holes in the drywall of the bedroom that were consistent with a bullet hole.

The Copes’ next-door neighbors at Apt. 10 were also interviewed by police. Inspection of their apartment found bullet holes consistent with the trajectory of a shot from Apt. 9.

The bullet was found on the floor of Apt. 10’s bedroom doorway.

Police said the occupants of Apt. 10 were in the bedroom when the shot occurred and were “in fear of bodily injury.”

Richard Cope, 34, was arrested and charged with three counts of felony reckless endangerment. His wife was hospitalized for treatment of her gunshot wound.

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