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Distraught man who accidentally fired gun at his 21st birthday party and killed best friend leaves apartment and kills himself

By Alexis Bell 1:27 PM January 24, 2018
Zachary Allyn Woodcock (L) and Richard Skillman

A birthday party celebration took a tragic turn when alcohol and guns mixed, said Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Gomez.

Police in Michigan were called to a home after a man accidentally killed his best friend before fatally shooting himself at his birthday party on Friday, authorities said.

Zachary Allyn Woodcock invited some friends to celebrate his 21st birthday at his house at the Bavarian Haus Apartments in Merrill.

Gomez said that the friends had been drinking when Woodcock went into his room at around 10:00 p.m.

He came out with a gun, and while playing with the weapon, he accidentally shot his best friend, Richard Cody Skillman, 21, in the chest, according to Gomez.

Skillman was pronounced dead at the scene. While emergency workers were trying to save Skillman, a distraught Woodcock went outside and shot himself.

He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died on Sunday.

“Every time there is alcohol involved and firearms, that’s a bad combination and almost nothing good is going to come out of that,” Gomez said.

Gomez said that both men loved guns. Authorities have removed 10 firearms, including the one used in the shooting, from the home.