Archive for Wednesday, October 11, 1989

OFFICIALS STILL INVESTIGATING FATAL SHOOTING

October 11, 1989

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Lawrence police today continued to investigate the death of a 20-year-old Tecumseh man who authorities think shot himself late Monday night while playing a deadly game of chance.

Police said Tuesday that the man, Travis L. Geery, apparently was playing Russian roulette in a mobile home at Gaslight Village trailer court, 1900 W. 31st, when he was hit by a shot from a large-caliber revolver.

Today, authorities would not confirm whether Geery was playing the deadly game and had not officially ruled whether the death was accidental.

"I don't think (foul play) has been ruled out," said Chris Mulvenon, Lawrence police spokesman. "But it's still being investigated as an accidental shooting and there are still strong indications that the individual was playing Russian roulette."

WHEN ASKED why no official ruling has been made, Mulvenon said detectives need more time to sort out exactly how the incident occurred. He would not specify why detectives have been unable to rule out foul play.

Police were notified about the incident at 10:56 p.m. by a Lawrence man who was with Geery when the pistol went off.

When officers arrived, they discovered Geery on the living room floor, bleeding from a head wound. He was still alive when authorities arrived.

Douglas County Ambulance Service personnel transported Geery to Lawrence Memorial Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 11:36 p.m. in the ambulance in the LMH parking lot.

Dr. Carol Moddrell, Douglas County coroner, ruled the official cause of death as a gunshot wound to the head.

MULVENON TODAY said Geery, a former Kansas University student who lived with his parents in Tecumseh, was visiting two Lawrence men who lived in the trailer when the incident occurred. Mulvenon said the men were acquaintances.

Police refused to release the names of the witnesses, who Mulvenon said are not considered suspects.

He said police have questioned the eyewitness who was with Geery when he was shot, along with another man who was in a back bedroom at the time of the shooting.

Mulvenon said detectives have learned that the gun used in the shooting belonged to the eyewitness.

Other information from interviews with witnesses led authorities to believe Geery died while playing Russian roulette, Mulvenon said.

The deadly game is played with a revolver that has a bullet loaded into one chamber of its cylinder. Each participant in turn spins the cylinder, places the gun to his or her head and pulls the trigger.

Mulvenon said a revolver was recovered at the trailer, as was a slug that had been imbedded in the ceiling. He said officers have found no indications that Geery had planned to commit suicide.

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