NC man thought gun was unloaded when he shot girlfriend, officials say

Jason Rashon Tenor (Iredell County Sheriff's Office)
Jason Rashon Tenor (Iredell County Sheriff's Office)

STATESVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) — An Iredell County man was arrested after officials say he shot and killed his girlfriend with a gun he thought was not loaded.

Jason Rashon Tenor, 21, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Cortney Smith. He is also charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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The incident happened around 9:45 p.m. on Monday, November 7, on the 100 block of Treeline Drive in Statesville. Several people called 911, including Tenor, who told dispatchers that he had accidentally shot his girlfriend. When deputies and Emergency Medical personnel got to the scene, they found Smith on the bedroom floor with a gunshot wound.

Crews attempted CPR on the victim, but were unsuccessful and Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to her obituary provided by the Nicholson Funeral Home, Smith graduated from West Iredell High School. Her funeral is scheduled for Saturday.

During interviews with detectives, two people inside the home described the hours leading up to the shooting as normal. Witnesses said that in the moments just before the shot was heard, the couple could be heard laughing. Immediately after the shot, the witnesses told investigators, Tenor came out of the room told the others in the home he accidentally shot Smith and called 911.

Detectives said Tenor cooperated with investigators and gave a full statement, in which he admitted that “he was handling a firearm that had been left there a few days prior by a third party. He admitted that he was handling the gun in a reckless fashion but indicated that he believed the gun was unloaded because the magazine was taken out.”

Officials said Tenor also admitted that marijuana and paraphernalia found in the bedroom belonged to him.

Police said as a result of the investigation and witness’s statements, “indications are that Jason Tenor was careless and negligent when he fired a single round that struck the victim in the head.” Warrants were then issued for his arrest.

Tenor was taken before a magistrate and given a $15,000 unsecured Bond.

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