Independence man charged with fatally shooting girlfriend

An Independence man who allegedly killed his girlfriend during an argument told officers that he pointed a rifle at the woman but didn’t mean to shoot her, police said.

Sean W. Ray, 41, was charged Saturday with first-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the shooting death of Kari Jean Tabor.

According to court documents:

Ray called 911 about 12:10 p.m. Saturday telling police that he had just accidentally shot his girlfriend at his house in the 1900 block of South Norton Avenue in Independence.

He told police that he didn’t think there was ammunition in the rifle and that it was “just a .22.”

When police arrived, they found Tabor lying on the floor in the front room.

Ray told the first officer who arrived that he had been cleaning a rifle and put the clip in. He said it went off and struck Tabor, who was standing in the way, according to court documents. A little bit later, Ray allegedly told the officer that he was taking the clip out when it fired.

The officer noticed that Ray had alcohol on his breath and his words were slurred. Ray consented to a breath test, which determined his blood alcohol concentration was about .2 percent.

Police obtained search warrants for the house and two samples of his blood to confirm the breath test. When they searched his home, police found an Erma rifle inside a cupboard in the living room.

Later during questioning, Ray told police told police that he had just finished cleaning the rifle and heard Tabor yelling at him or a dog. As he turned around, he told police, the rifle fired and struck her in the stomach.

He later told police that Tabor was yelling at him about spending $56.75 on dog food and cat litter and about packing because they had to move out by Feb. 15.

Police said Ray told them he turned and argued with Tabor, pointing the rifle at her.

Twice Tabor told him to stop pointing the rifle at her. Ray said the gun went off about the same time she grabbed the barrel of the rifle to move it away from her, according to court documents.

Tabor lifted her shirt and Ray saw that she had been struck in the stomach. She died at the hospital.