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Cleveland firefighter arrested told police he accidentally shot and killed his roommate

'I can't believe this,' he told dispatchers
Posted at 2:25 PM, Apr 18, 2022

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio — A 25-year-old Cleveland firefighter has been charged with voluntary manslaughter in connection with the death of his roommate inside a Willoughby apartment on April 14, according to the Cleveland Division of Fire.

Kevin McCarthy, 25, was arrested Thursday after stating in a 911 call that "he accidentally shot his roommate and that his roommate was deceased inside the apartment," the Willoughby Police Department said in a news release.

Willoughby Lieutenant Detective John Begovic said McCarthy indicated to detectives that he and his roommate, 25-year-old man Christian Kilburg, were joking around with a gun on the couch, and McCarthy thought the gun wasn't loaded, but it went off and hit Kilburg in the head.

"His statement was that the gun accidentally discharged while he was holding it," he said.

When officers arrived at the Willogrove Apartment Building on Grove Avenue in Willoughby, police arrested McCarthy outside the apartment, where he told dispatchers he would be.

Inside the apartment, officers found Kilburg dead with an apparent gunshot wound.

Begovic said based on interviews, McCarthy revealed the two were not just roommates but close friends.

"He was distraught over that. His roommate was his best friend since grade school from the information we got," he said.

He called the death a tragedy.

"Never assume that gun is empty, double-check, triple-check. If it's a semi-automatic handgun, drop the magazine, drop the slide back multiple times. Be very careful when you’re cleaning the gun," said Begovic. "Two young lives, both 25-years old, one is deceased the other one has to live with this for the rest of his life. It's just tragic all around."

In the 911 call you can hear McCarthy tell dispatchers, "I can’t believe, I can’t believe this happened. I can’t believe this."

The Cleveland Division of Fire has suspended McCarthy without pay pending the outcome of judicial proceedings.

McCarthy was hired to the Cleveland Division of Fire in 2021 and was most recently assigned to Engine 41.

McCarthy was arraigned Monday while in Lake County Jail.

The shooting remains under investigation.

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