Niles man charged in accidental death

Published 9:19 pm Monday, January 3, 2011

Edsel Carter, 66, of Niles, was arraigned Saturday and released on bond after what seems to have been an accidental shooting shortly after midnight Saturday, Det. Sgt. Fabian Suarez of the Michigan State Police said.

Carter faces charges of possessing an unregistered firearm and reckless use of a firearm causing death.

The death caused was that of Jose Mercedes Ramirez-Velazquez, 35, Carter’s neighbor.

Shortly after midnight Saturday, as Ramirez-Velazquez held a New Year’s Eve party at his home on Cass Street in Niles, police say Carter brought the firearm with him to the residence.

Police say their investigation revealed the shooting appeared to be accidental. Ramirez-Velazquez suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and was pronounced dead at 1:14 a.m. Saturday at Lakeland Community Hospital in Niles.

Suarez said that according to reports taken during the investigation, Carter and Ramirez-Velazquez seemed to be best friends.

No date has been scheduled for Carter’s court appearance.

Funeral services for Ramirez-Velazquez are pending with Halbritter Funeral Home of Niles.