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Gun safety seminar to be held in memory of Cape teen

By Staff | Apr 18, 2012

The family of a Cape Coral teen who was fatally shot by her boyfriend has helped organize a seminar in the hopes of preventing another tragedy.

The Ashlee Swazey Memorial Gun Safety Seminar will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. April 26 at the Cape Coral Police Department. The event is free and open to all ages. There is no advance registration required to attend.

“Almost from the very beginning of when Ashlee was killed, I felt the need to do something to hopefully prevent this from happening again,” David Swazey, the father of Ashlee Swazey, said Wednesday.

“To take this tragedy and turn it into a positive situation,” he said.

Ashlee was shot and killed on Sept. 3, 2010. She was 15.

Last month, Dylan Stanley Wisniewski, 19, was sentenced to 10 and a half years in prison, followed by five years of probation with no early termination, after being found guilty of manslaughter with a firearm in Ashlee’s death.

According to official records, Wisniewski and Ashlee were in his bedroom when he removed a .22-caliber rifle from a gun rack that he had just installed above his closet. He pointed the rifle in her direction, aiming at her feet.

As he raised the gun to Ashlee’s shoulder area, she allegedly walked up to the end of the firearm and put her mouth close to the barrel. He pulled the trigger, not realizing that the gun was loaded, and Ashlee fell to the floor.

She was pronounced dead on scene with a gunshot wound to the head.

The seminar, which is being hosted by the Cape police, will provide useful information to children – kindergarten to high school – and to adults.

“It’s an all ages issue, so we need to tackle it at all ages,” CCPD Lt. Tony Sizemore said. “You can ignore the problem, or give people the skills to deal with the problem.”

The seminar will consist of a video on gun safety directed to children. As the youths follow up with a coloring book and workbook session, the Lee Memorial Trauma Center will put on a presentation on gunshot injuries for the adults.

The CCPD will talk about different gun-related incidents in the Cape.

“It’s going back 10 years, the presentation,” Sizemore said.

At the end, the children will get a certificate for completing the program.

There will also be free gun locks available, and the Cape police will have different types of guns on display with demos on how to use the locks.

“Obviously, you want to have your own home as safe as possible,” he said. “But as nice as your house is, what about the house that your children play at? You want your child to have the tools (to be safe) in any environment.”

At the seminar, Swazey will speak to the crowd as a special guest.

“Our main goal is to make children gun safe, not just the home,” he said, adding that everybody will be able to take something away from the event.

Swazey will talk about how his daughter’s death has affected people.

“It’s affected us every day of our lives, for the rest of our lives,” he said.

“It’s never easy to lose anyone in any situation in your family,” Swazey said. “As a parent, you never expect you’re going to bury one of your children.”

The Cape Coral Police Department is at 1100 Cultural Park Blvd.

For more information, contact the CCPD at (239) 574-3223.