BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — A Battle Creek man whose girlfriend died on Valentine’s Day said he doesn’t know how his gun went off, fatally wounding her.
“It was an accident. We were both caught off guard,” Deangelo Gaines said of the Sunday incident. “I don’t know.”
Gaines told 24 Hour News 8 on Tuesday that he had placed his .45-caliber handgun on his bed. He said he and his girlfriend, Kayla Babick, were lying on the bed together when the gun fired.
“I’m sitting there, just on my phone, and I hear a gunshot and she jumps up,” he said. “I’m like, my gun just went off.”
Babick was shot in the abdomen. She rushed downstairs, Gaines following her.
“I raced down there after her and she’s laying on the floor,” he remembered. “I pick her up. My mom gives me a towel. I put it on her wound. I’m rubbing her hair and I’m trying to talk to her and let her know that I was here. And I was like, ‘Can you hear me?’ And I felt her head nod a little bit. And she took a deep breath, and she just stopped breathing.”
Babick, 24, left behind two children. Her funeral is scheduled for Feb. 21.
Citing sources, 24 Hour News 8 was among news outlets that previously reported Gaines accidentally shot Babick while he was cleaning the gun. Tuesday, Battle Creek Police Department command officers said that was never believed to have been the case.
“I wasn’t cleaning the gun the day she was shot,” Gaines said on Tuesday. “My theory is maybe she moved it and she moved over a little bit, accidentally laid on it and went to grab it thinking that maybe it was a remote and probably grabbed the trigger just right.”
“That’s all I can come up with. Or a faulty bullet in the chamber,” he continued.
Gaines and Babick had known each other for years and had been dating since November. There is no indication there was ever any domestic violence between them.
“We had almost everything in common,” Gaines said.
He said they had big plans for the future and that he was preparing to ask her family for their blessing to marry her.
After the shooting, Gaines was taken to BCPD headquarters for questioning. He said he fully expected to be arrested following his interrogation given the circumstances but was relieved when police released him later the same day.
The case will be forwarded to the Calhoun County Prosecutor’s Office, which will decide if charges are warranted. Gaines said he’s not worried about charges, but he does have one regret:
“Shouldn’t have had the gun on the bed. I just think of that a lot,” he said. “I will never look at Valentine’s Day the same.”
Babick’s family has been supportive of him, Gaines said. He said he recognizes that some may suspect that he did something wrong.
“Kayla knows what happened,” Gaines said.
He spoke to 24 Hour News 8 on Tuesday to clear the air about what happened. With the gun that fired the bullet that fatally injured his girlfriend confiscated, Gaines said he has no interest in owning a gun again in the near future.
He also provided a warning to other gun owners, hoping what happened to him won’t happen to anyone else.
“Just be careful with guns,” he said.