October 4, 2012 | Volume 43, No. 40

Man accepts blame for shooting

A Haines man who shot another man during an early-morning party Sept. 28 this week said he felt “horrible” about it.

Frank Hickman Jr., 24, corroborated an account by police, who described the shooting as accidental.

“It wasn’t alcohol’s fault and it wasn’t the gun’s fault. It was all my fault. I shouldn’t have had (the gun) out. I’m nothing but sorry,” Hickman said.

Haines police chief Gary Lowe said this week he expected weapons misconduct and assault charges to be filed as early as next week.

Jason Albecker, 22, was medevaced to an Anchorage hospital, where he was recovering from a wound above his right knee. He told public radio station KHNS that he appreciated the help he received after the accident. Lowe said the extent of his injuries will determine the severity of charges brought against Hickman.

According to police, six men and two women were at a Small Tracts Road home at the time of the 3:30 a.m. shooting and all had been drinking alcohol.

A group was sitting in a circle in a living room when the shooting occurred.

“By all accounts, someone had expressed curiosity about one person’s handgun. The owner took it out and passed it around. When (the owner) got it back, he went to reload it and put it away and it discharged, shooting another person in the right leg,” Lowe said.

The gun was a .45 caliber semi-automatic.

In an interview this week, Hickman said he unloaded the gun when those at the party said they wanted to see it. After he got it back, he was reloading it when the action slid forward on a live round, he said.

“I’m just glad (Albecker) is going to be alright. I feel the worst about this,” Hickman said. “I was two seconds away from putting (the gun) in its holster and walking out the door (when the gun went off).”

Lowe did not name Albecker or Hickman, citing department policy in such cases when charges are pending. The two names became public on Facebook last week.

Lowe said: “The public is not in danger. There’s no danger (Hickman) is going to leave the state because of these charges. It’s just a matter of which charges are the best fit. There are several different levels of severity of charges, based on how bad the injury is. We won’t have a clear picture of that until we get the medical results.”

State law prohibits possession of a firearm while impaired by alcohol.

Lowe said police interviewed the eight people who were at the party and all but one of them twice.