Dad shot himself in the head as he played with gun
ABIRMINGHAM dad died after shooting himself in the head in what may have been a game of ‘Russian roulette’.
Roofer Christopher James Colgan, 31, died in hospital as a result of a single gunshot wound to the head, an inquest heard.
The horrific incident happened at his best friend’s house in Parkhouse Drive, Erdington, on Friday, March 2.
Known as Chrissy, he suffered an unsurvivable brain injury.
A firearms expert ruled that he had pressed a revolver against his head and behind his ear before pulling the trigger.
The coroner said he did not know if he had been playing Russian Roulette or not, so would not call it that.
But the friend who was with him at the time said the tragedy had followed a remark about the deadly game.
Birmingham Coroner’s Court heard how Chrissy went to see best friend Gavin McDonald at around 9pm, and they sat at the dining table smoking cannabis and drinking beer.
Chrissy later pulled a gun from within his clothing, with Gavin describing it as a “cowboy gun they use in the movies”.
Evidence was read out explaining how Chrissy “kept taking the bullets in and out” of the barrel several times, opening it up and tipping the bullets onto the table.
Factory worker Gavin said the gun looked like what they play Russian roulette with, claiming Chrissy asked: “Are you going to do it, then?”
He told his friend – described at the time as being particularly high and hyper – several times to put the gun down.
The court heard that it was at this point Chrissy put the gun to his head. Gavin looked away, screaming ‘No!’ before the gun went off.
Emergency services were called at
It seems to me that he was just carrying on with the gun and probably lost track of where the bullets were
9.59pm, and armed police arrived to the house on the Wyrley Birch estate 11 minutes later. Paramedics arrived at 10.17pm.
When police arrived, the gun could not be found and has yet to be retrieved more than three months on, despite several search warrants being executed.
Emma Brown, assistant coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, said: “West Midlands Police investigated the shooting with assistance from ballistics expert Huw Griffiths. It is Mr Griffiths’s conclusion that the likely explanation for the injury is that Chris fired the gun himself, and it is also my finding that Chris fired the gun himself.
“I’ve come to that conclusion, based on the evidence of Mr Griffiths, that all the evidence points to Chris sitting down and placing the muzzle of the gun against his head himself.
“Having seen Gavin give evidence and his height, it would seem unlikely to me that Gavin would not have been able to stop him from being able to do that.
“I also accept Gavin’s evidence that they were friends; that they were having a pleasant time, chatting and having a drink together and there would be nothing to prompt him to take that action.
“I accept the evidence he’s given that Chris was a bit hyper that night and, combined with the fact that he’d been drinking for a while and had smoked a bit, it seems to be that the likely explanation is he’d lost his judgment and it was all too easy for him to pick up the gun and place it to his head, not intending there to be a live round when he fired it.
“I don’t know whether he was starting a game of Russian roulette and I’m not going to call it that.
“It seems to me that he was just carrying on with the gun and probably lost track of where the bullets were at the time he fired it. It is for that reason that I’m going to record a conclusion of misadventure.
“As I’ve explained, this means that somebody did do a deliberate act but it had the unintended consequence of causing a death.”
Christopher James Colgan and, inset, tributes at the house in Parkhouse Drive, Erdington