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For week ended December 26, 1999 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Kent Larsen

911 Tapes of Shooting Over Pumpkin Theft Released
Los Angeles Times pg4 21Dec99 D2
By Jack Leonard: Times Staff Writer

BUENA PARK, CALIFORNIA -- Police have released the 911 tape of LDS Church member Pete Solomona reporting that he had shot 17-year-old Brandon Ketsdever last October. In the tape, Solomona says that his gun accidentally discharged, killing Ketsdever as Solomona tried to stop the youth and his two friends from stealing a 3 1/2 foot lighted plastic pumpkin from his yard.

Solomona's wife called 911 after the incident, saying that a "male" had been shot. When the dispatcher asked if she had seen the shooter, she said "My husband did," which the dispatcher thought meant that her husband had seen the shooter. The dispatcher then asked to speak to Solomona.

"Pete, what happened?" the dispatcher asked.

"The gun just went off," he said.

"Whose gun went off?"


"Your gun went off?"


"You shot somebody?"


"You shot somebody?"


Surprised at what she was hearing, the dispatcher tried to confirm the details, "They stole your pumpkin and then you shot at 'em?" asked the dispatcher. "No, it just went off," Solomona replied. "The gun just went off. . . . I didn't mean to shoot anybody."

Solomona maintains that the shooting was an accident, while Ketsdever's two friends say that Solomona was angry, shouting epithets at them, and drew his gun and aimed at them. The difference between the stories could mean the difference between a conviction for murder or manslaughter for the "devout Mormon and doting grandfather."


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