Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten says Dionta Cochran of North Charleston was killed by his own gun.
“This young man had the gun in his back pocket, and, of course, often the jeans are now designed and with the pockets sewn on pretty low. So, he was getting into the vehicle, and with the pants really low, where the gun was was below the level of his crotch area, and so the whole entire pants were low. So, as he slid into the vehicle, leaned in to pull the door closed, something caused the gun to fire,” says Wooten.
The gun was a .32 caliber pistol. When North Charleston police first investigated the shooting, they labeled it a homicide. Police arrested and charged Cochran’s cousin, Justin Townsend, and a friend, Eric Smith, with the shooting after police said the two tried to hide Cochran’s gun in the backyard of the home. Now, police and the coroner have ruled this death accidental and Wooten says in her 14-plus years, she has never seen anything like this.
“We can say that without a doubt that the gun that was in his pocket is responsible for the gun-related death, but it’s something that I’ve never seen before, and it’s very unlikely that I’ll ever see such a thing again,” says Wooten.
Cochran was 19-years-old with a brief history of crime. He served 10 months in prison for strong-arm robbery, and on June 5 of this year, arrested and accused of shooting a firearm in West Ashley.
The Post and Courier reports the charges against Townsend and Smith are still pending.