FL: Airgun Fatality, Aggravated by Lack of Care


Airgun iStock-1397773666
Airguns can be very deadly. iStock-1397773666

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)-– On May 4, 2022, a corpse was discovered at about 7 a.m in Lake County, Florida. Ernie Wayne Wilburn was the man who had died. He had been shot with a .22 caliber air rifle.

From Wesh.com:

Detectives identified the man as 44-year-old Ernie Wayne Wilburn.

Lake deputies say there were witnesses inside the home but they could not explain what happened to Wilburn.

Detectives deemed Wilburn’s death suspicious.

The police believed the death suspicious. An autopsy was done. The proximate cause of death was a puncture to the left lung through the rib cage.

From clickorlando.com: 

When deputies arrived at the house to investigate, they found Wilburn dead on the living room floor, covered with a sheet and with furniture pillows piled on top of it. Deputies said it was clear the body had been moved because of the location of the blood-like stain on the floor.

Deputies also added that when they read the search warrant, Hill asked if it included a particular area of the property. Deputies said it did, and when they searched in that area, they found the Ruger .22 caliber air rifle.

Ernie Wayne Wilburn likely suffered from a collapsed lung, pneumothorax.  This type of wound is often called a “sucking chest wound.” First aid for such wounds is taught in the military. Sucking chest wounds are a common bullet wound suffered in combat.

In sucking chest wounds, air enters the chest cavity, taking up space. The lung in the cavity collapses and has difficulty expanding against the air, which now occupies the space it would normally expand into. This makes it very difficult to breathe. As one lung is unable to expand, the other lung has difficulty expanding as well. As the capacity of the lungs to deliver oxygen to the blood drops, lack of oxygen can cause death.

With modern trauma centers, a sucking chest wound on only one lung, while very dangerous, can be effectively treated and death prevented.

If treatment had been obtained, the victim would likely have survived. The path from assault to manslaughter probably happened when no aid was given to the victim.

It does not take much energy to penetrate into the chest cavity of a human, even a human adult male.  Many common air rifles have the capability of doing so.

This type of death is unusual. In today’s society, most victims receive trauma care very quickly.  Air gun fatalities more commonly involve shots to the brain where the skull is thin or shots to the heart where the heart is near the surface of the body.

At least one adult black bear was killed in a similar manner last month in Colorado.

From kdvr.com:

 A black bear was found shot to death last year and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are still searching for information on the incident. 

A dead 7- or 8-year-old sow was discovered in a Rio Grande River near the Mountain Views at Rivers Edge RV resort south of Creede in Mineral County last fall. Officers determined the animal had been illegally shot and recovered a .22 air rifle pellet from the bear’s chest.

Many people think air rifles are harmless. As illustrated above, ordinary, common air rifles are potentially deadly. The same safety rules used for firearms should be applied.

Shooters need to know what the gun they are shooting is capable of, so they can use an appropriate backstop and so they will not believe the gun/ammunition combination is harmless.

A substantial number of shooters think .22 rimfire ammunition is incapable of causing serious injury to large animals. The opposite is true. A great many large animals are killed with .22 rimfire cartridges every year.

Common .22 air rifles approach the energy levels of the lower powered .22 rimfire cartridges. Both can kill if they hit a human body in a vulnerable place.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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Henry Bowman

Just watch now, when the truth gets to the mommies demanding action, they will want to ban that too.

I swear everytime I hear the name of that group, I think it sounds like the title of a porn flick…


Okay, I will probably get downvoted to hell and back for asking, but I have to. WHEN did Ruger make a .22 caliber (or any caliber for that matter) air rifle?

Wild Bill

China?!. Most disappointing. I will not be purchasing a Chinese made product because the profit funds the CCP war machine. Please pass that on to Ruger.
Thank you for giving us the truth of it Mr. Weingarten.

Last edited 1 month ago by Wild Bill

Thank You, Sir! I had never heard of, much less seen, an sir gun with Ruger’s name on it. I learn something new every day.


Next trip to WalMart look in the firearm & fishing dept.


Is there anything not made in China anymore ? Mr Weingarten, I sure wasn’t aware of that. Thanks.


1st handgun I owned was a Std Auto 22. Sold it after Bill Ruger & Stephen Sanetti’s betrayals in the 80s-90s. I’ll never buy another. Ruger pretends pro-gun, but still sells us out when they think we’re not looking.


Crazy. Why downvote that statement? I have limits on companies too.

I have not bought a pair of Levi jeans or anything made by Levi Strauss for 30+ years due to their embrace of the radical homosexual agenda. Harry’s Razors are verboten because of their uber leftism…Ben & Jerry’s…Target, etc.

I find it commendable that you would not only boycott a turncoat or a company you find offensive, that you would sell your first handgun, that had to be a very bittersweet moment.


Unless there is no choice I buy American or anything but Chinese


I feel the same way about the china made products. No way will i buy them .The money goes to a government that is communist and they openly hate us!


Yeah, they also closed a big plant in San Angelo Texas to move production overseas!
We buy American whenever we can. And try to avoid all chinese made stuff!

Wild Bill

They did not down vote the statement.


All this hostility because you snap & hold a grudge like a woman scorned over a friendly correction. You do corrections all the time to JSNMCG & others but yours are passive-aggressive like a menopausal сука. You dish it out, but oh the humanity if you get back what you put in, even a friendly version. Snark attack, praise your sock pup pals for vile ad hominem lies against me & others, try to drive us away, then accuse us of having driven folks away, no e.g. provided. Sock downvote accounts, stalking, projection, lies, snark, hypocrisy, locals-only gang-up. Leftist M.O.… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Russn8r

Levi’s is also outspokenly anti 2A.
I said FU to Levi’s 10 years ago.
Ammoland has done some articles.
Stick with Wrangler. Girls love a man in some slim fit Wranglers and a “George Strait Resistol”. 😉



Haven’t had bought or ever owned Levi’s, sticking with Wrangler!!!




Thx. It was bittersweet. Pain in the butt to take apart & clean, but I learned to shoot with it. Sweet part: Figured the buyer otherwise might’ve bought a new one: Denying Ruger a sale.

I boycott those too. Like Gillette, Harry’s is a razor for men with vaginas.

If our side won’t vote our wallets, it’s Game Over. Sad how many conservatives subscribe to Netflix, Prime etc. Unwilling to sacrifice. For Chrissake, read books, watch old dvds. Not that canceling Netflix was much of a sacrifice. Every Netflix show slips in sick twist messaging, sicko actors etc.


You are twisted, bitch!


Stop trying to drive me away, Supe!


Made in Republic of Vietnam!!!!!!!!! Just cheked a package at Walmart!


China, making guns for the U.S.? Better be careful.

Wild Bill

Nope, that is an excellent question, and it lead to the truth.

Old Fogey

Unfortunately most air guns are made in China.

Wild Bill

And that is just wrong, too!!! Welcome to the site.


Hell,most everything’s made in China. I’m surprised Walmart don’t have its name spelled in Chinese.

Roland T. Gunner

Well, if you tilt your head sideways, and squint just right…

Wild Bill

Good humor!


Roland, that’s hiliarious.

Matt in Oklahoma

So it was a FJB lung blower?


No downvotes we don’t need any stinking down votes Air rifles are big business as they will drop a deer at 100 yards or hog with 30 cal or even the air texan 50 cal has taken elk. Umarex Ruger Impact Max .22 Caliber Pellet Gun Air Rifle with 4x32mm Scope $299.99 It will Kill .They have others most are springers https://www.umarexusa.com/ruger You want a rifle? Umarex USA offers a wide range of airgun rifles. You can use an airsoft rifle and practice to protect yourself and your family if the need to protect with a firearm arises. Small bore… Read more »


I’ve killed 2 White Black Deer (freakin pest) with a common Crossman pump .177 pellet gun in the past. I also shot my jerk first cousin in the arm once too, (a different Daisy BB gun), that didn’t end well for my gluteus maximus, idiocy of youth.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bigfootbob

Yeah the dumb $h!t we did as youths. But life was fun then. lol


I’m still surprised I lived through my childhood. We used to have BB gun wars. The only rules were “no head shots” and, if you had a gun that could be pumped multiple times, there was a “three pump limit”. Still, there was no denying when you got hit.

Roland T. Gunner

Our shop teacher let us have old pairs of safety goggles, figuring if he could not stop us, he would try to make us more safe. I preferred the compact size and fast rate of fire of the Daisy Pal.

Wild Bill

That is a good account!!


Rimfire guns are not only effective at close range against threats (both animal and human), .22 pistols are almost as deafening when fired indoors,when compared to larger calibers. Too, the caliber’s lower cost makes practice at the range cheaper.

Last edited 1 month ago by Wass

Walter makes a exceptional springer air rifle great for tuning up trigger control pennys to shoot 177 or 22 cal Break barrel adjustable sights and triggers ready to take a scope or red dot. fun to shoot in the yard or to drop some pesky varmints


Two illegal aliens in Pinellas County FL (most densely populated county in FL) were caught with a dead deer in their van and another was found wounded. Both were shot with an air rifle in an urban neighborhood near a wildlife preserve. As air rifles are not a “firearm” under Florida law, they could not be charged with discharging a weapon in a residential area but were charged with violation of hunting laws. A person could have been killed with these air rifles. They are dangerous and lethal but fall outside the law.

Last edited 1 month ago by DennisP220

2a should negate all but reckless endangerment, and they could be charged with that


First of all, the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to air rifles because they are not “firearms”. Secondly, the Second Amendment does NOT apply to ILLEGAL aliens. They can NOT legally own a firearm.

Wild Bill

I see your point about not being a firearm, but the Second Amendment specifies “…arms…” , a much broader category than just firearms.
I guess that the discussion about air rifles being protected by the Second Amendment would revolve around common use at the time and use by the military.
If I were president, I guess that I would order each of the services to order some air rifles and make them “in common use…”


Air rifles were available back then, Lewis and Clark took one to Oregon in 1809. I don’t know if they qualify as common use though.

Wild Bill

Close enough for me!!


“Their swords and every terrible implement of the soldier are the birthright of Americans.” — Tench Coxe, one of the Anti-Federalists from Pennsylvania who insisted on a Bill of Rights before he would vote to ratify the Constitution, writing on just what the Second Amendment was to cover.

Roland T. Gunner

The Second Amendment applies to “arms”, as in fireerms, air guns, swords, daggers, bowie knives, tomahawks, etc. And air rifles were in use during the revolutionary war. Constitutionally, 2A covers virtually any weapon pr weapon system outside actual WMD’s.

I dont know where you got that whole “firearms” thing.

Henry Bowman

You’re right about illegal aliens but wrong about airguns. They are still weapons and therefore covered by 2A, per CAETANO v MASSACHUSETTS (2016); where SCOTUS ruled that “ALL bearable arms are covered under the 2nd Amendment.” Knives, billy sticks, nunchaku, throwing stars, etc. are also covered. Even John Wick’s pencil.


since their simple presence within our borders is a crime, and prohibited, they cannot possess anything whilst they are within our boundaries. They certainly may not possess firearms or any other dangerous weapons. As to air rifles and that pesky Second Article… “arms” includes quite a number of types of weapons. ANYTHING useful in a military setting is protected under that Article. Don’t forget, there did exist a very powerful rifle in those times, Girondoni I believe was the maker.It had a magazine capacity of FORTY founds, and once charged with air the operator could discharge all forty rounds in… Read more »

Wild Bill

An air rifle that powerful could come in handy.


Yes and you can’t eat peanuts in Church. There are literally tens of thousands of ridiculous, useless, unenforceable and unconstitutional laws found in virtually every jurisdiction.

Captain Sloog

Boy, you’re gonna shoot your eye out with that!!!


Lung. LOL

Last edited 1 month ago by TGP389

While training at Barrett last week, found a Tee at local Bullseye gun shop…..OD green with full flaming hot pink bunny suit (ala “The Christmas Story”) centered on front with face of Slo Joe in the head opening. Caption above “Come on, Man” Caption below, “You’ll shoot your lung out.” Bought one plus five extras for gunnies back at the ranch.


I just had to find out more about this shooting. It seems that Wilburn and Hill were roommates. Wilburn annoyed Hill, so he shot him. Checking backgrounds, they both look like sterling characters!


I figured something of the sort. Next years Nobel Peace Prize winners.