PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 33-year-old man was sentenced to more than six years in prison Friday after a deadly shooting in North Portland between best friends that loved ones said was an accident.
According to Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s office, Tyler Pierce was sentenced to 80 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter.
In June 2019, Pierce and his childhood friend and coworker, Justin Stewart, were out drinking at several bars in East Portland. Pierce, who didn’t have a concealed weapon permit, carried a pistol throughout the night, Schmidt’s office said.
Pierce said he kept bullets loaded in the magazine, but not in the chamber. According to the DA, the two eventually headed home, and Pierce pulled out his gun, held it to his friend’s chin and pulled the trigger. Stewart fell to the ground, and Pierce called 911.
He stayed at the scene and cooperated with Portland police, but Stewart died while en route to the hospital.
Stewart’s girlfriend told KOIN 6 News in June 2019 that she was sure it was an accident.
Pierce was “playing with his gun and pointing it at Justin, just like jokingly, and then he pulled the trigger not thinking there was any ammo in it,” Angela Davidson said. “And he got Justin right in the neck.”
The prosecuting attorney, Deputy District Attorney Kate Molina, said the “preventable tragedy” should serve as a reminder to not mix weapons with alcohol.
“Guns are not toys. The sheer presence of a gun increases the risk of fatality,” Molina said. “That combined with lack of training, proper permits, and the consumption of alcohol is deadly.”
“My son didn’t deserve this,” Stewart’s father said at the sentencing. “I am haunted by his death.”