Former Guns & Ammo editor arrested in Arizona shooting death

KINGMAN, Ariz. - A veteran outdoor and firearms journalist was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of his friend in northwest Arizona on Wednesday.

Mohave County sheriff's deputies responded just before 4 p.m. to a report of gunfire at the Golden Valley residence of Richard Erick Venola, 53.

Venola is a contributing writer and former editor of Guns & Ammo magazine.

Agency spokeswoman Trish Carter said Venola used a "high-caliber" rifle to shoot his friend in the chest. She said James Patrick O'Neill, 39, of Golden Valley was dead at the scene of the shooting outside Venola's home in the 4800 block of Mayan Drive.

In a report, Detective Larry Matthews said Venola appeared to be intoxicated when contacted by officers. Neighbors told investigators that Venola was "having words" with the victim before they heard a gunshot.

"Mr. Venola came over to the neighbors carrying a rifle and stated he just killed a man," the report said. "Mr. Venola acknowledged he killed the man, but didn't say why."

Carter said three weapons were taken from Venola's property.

Magazine spokeswoman Amy Sorrells said he was a contribution writer for Guns & Ammo but hasn't been its editor for 18 months.

The magazine's website said Venola spent 18 years in the Marine Corps before he was honorably discharged in 1996.

Justice of the Peace Rick Lambert appointed legal counsel and set bond at $100,000 during Venola's initial appearance Thursday afternoon in Kingman. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for May 11.