'A bad mix': Police blame accidental shooting, suicide on drinking with guns

Published: Jan. 22, 2018 at 6:57 PM EST
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(1/22/2018) - Police say alcohol and guns proved to be a bad mix Friday night, leading to the deaths of two men at a birthday party.

Saginaw County Sheriff's Lt. Mike Gomez said 20-year-old Zachary Woodcock was having a birthday party at Bavarian Haus Apartments in Merrill around 10 p.m. Friday. He was about to turn 21.

Woodcock's best friend, 21-year-old Richard Skillman, was at the party.

"From what I heard, they were best of friends," Gomez said.

Woodcock and the other party-goers apparently had been drinking alcohol before he went back to his bedroom.

"He went into his bedroom, came back out, had a handgun, the handgun went off and struck Mr. Skillman in the chest," Gomez said.

A woman who did not want to be identified remembered the moment when the gunshot echoed through the complex.

"I heard the gun pop off," she said. "I heard yelling and screaming and I came down to see if I could assist anybody."

She did not hear what happened next.

Gomez said that as aid was given to Skillman, who died on the scene, witnesses say Woodcock left the apartment. Realizing that he unintentionally shot his friend, Woodcock shot himself minutes later.

"They heard a shot, walked out and there he was," Gomez said.

Investigators say both young men liked guns.

"They were each armed with multiple guns," Gomez said.

In all, about 10 guns were removed from the apartment and Skillman's car, which was parked at the complex.

"Anytime there is alcohol involved and guns, that is a bad mix and almost nothing good is ever going to come of it," Gomez said.