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24-year-old St. Johns man charged in fatal shooting of friend

Brandon Chunko
Posted at 12:46 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 12:46:05-05

A 24-year-old St. Johns man has been charged with manslaughter in the apparently accidental shooting of a friend.

Police say Jesse Osga-Groves was showing several firearms to guests at his home in the 500 block of East State Street on Saturday night when one of the guns went off, striking 21-year-old Brandon Chunko, of DeWitt Township, in the chest. He died later than night at Sparrow Clinton Hospital, according to his obituary.

Police said Osga-Groves and Chunko were friends and Osga-Groves had believed the gun was unloaded.

St. Johns Police Chief David Kirk said it was evident that alcohol was involved.

"Don't point a gun at somebody. You never know," Kirk said.

The gun "shouldn't have been out in the first place, likely," he added. "It's certainly a tragedy in the end."

Osga-Groves was charged with homicide-manslaughter-death by weapon aimed with intent but without malice. Kirk said that this is the first time in his 30-year law enforcement career that he has seen this specific charge.

Nick Hitchcock had known Chunko for about two years and described him as a "pretty close friend."

Though Hitchcock was not at the party that night, he was at work right around the corner.

When his co-workers called him that Chunko had been shot, "I was is in total shock," he said. "I still am. I can't believe he's gone. He had a lot of life to live."

Chunko's obituary describes him as "a very compassionate and caring young man" who loved riding motorcycles, playing guitar and banjo and working with his dad to restore a 1969 Ford Fairlane.

Memorial events for Brandon Chunko will be held March 4 and 5. Details can be found here. Chunko's obituary can be found here.

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Lauren Shields

Lauren Shields

8:25 PM, Aug 21, 2019

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Lauren Shields