'Freaking out' after deadly Olivehurst shooting
Bryan Benningfield begged his cousin and close friend, Michael Callison, to breathe, as he performed CPR on Wednesday night, a witness said Thursday.
Benningfield was covered in blood.
"You could hear the panic in his voice. Everyone was freaking out," neighbor Diane Reimanis said.
Callison, 35, had been shot in the neck with a .22-caliber rifle while he and Benningfield were cleaning out their grandmother's garage in the 4200 block of Rose Avenue.
At first, even Callison did not appear to know what had happened, the neighbor said.
"I think I just got shot in the (expletive) neck," Callison was heard to say.
"Bryan shouted 'Where the hell did that come from?'" Reimanis recalled.
Callison died a short time later at the hospital. Benningfield was arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He remained in custody Thursday night with bail set at $50,000.
"Whether the gun went off on the ground or while someone was touching it, I don't know, but I do know that Bryan would never hurt Mike. They were very close," Reimanis said.
Family members could not be reached Thursday. A handwritten note posted on a closed gate at their home read, "The family requests that you respect their privacy."
Yuba County sheriff's deputies believe Benningfield had the gun when it went off.
"It is believed his handling of the weapon caused it to discharge," Lt. Damon Gil said Thursday.
Gil said it appears the rifle had been stored — while loaded — in the garage for an undetermined amount of time.
Benningfield, 39, has multiple felony convictions that prevent him from even touching a guns, according to the Sheriff's Department.
"Lawfully, he's not supposed to handle firearms," Gil said.
Benningfield's prior convictions range from misdemeanor drug offenses to domestic violence and car theft.
In 2004, he pleaded guilty to a domestic violence charge in connection with allegations he kidnapped a woman and threatened to burn down a house with the woman inside, court records state.
He pleaded no contest in 2008 in connection to accusations he crashed a stolen vehicle while fleeing from police at high speeds. His most recent conviction in Yuba County was a misdemeanor drug charge last year, according to court records.
But those days were behind him, according to Reimanis, who said Benningfield had done "a complete 180."
Neighbors described Callison as a warm, generous and funny man who was expecting a child later this year. They had nothing but praise and support for Benningfield.
Benningfield had been working and was attending welding school, according to Reimanis.
Ramiro Martinez, another neighbor, agreed.
"They're quiet people, they keep to themselves and mind their own business, but are always willing to help out anybody in the neighborhood that needs it," Martinez said. "It's just really sad."
Reimanis has known both men for many years and said Benningfield should not be in jail.
"I think they need to let him out," Reimanis said. "I stand right next to him and say that to anybody."
CONTACT Rob Parsons at email@example.com or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.