The Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office announced Monday it is filing a charge of manslaughter against a 24-year-old Temple Terrace man who shot his roommate during a combat simulation.
Neil Gallagher killed Eric Hansen with a single gunshot to the head on February 24, 2020, in the Temple Terrace home the two men shared with three other friends. After a thorough investigation with the Temple Terrace Police Department, the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office found sufficient evidence to charge Gallagher with manslaughter, and a warrant has been issued for Gallagher’s arrest.
The investigation determined Hansen’s death came during a combat simulation the two men were staging in the home. Gallagher and Hansen were acting out who would win in a theoretical confrontation between two people—one armed with a gun, the other with a knife—if they were to attack each other.
During these scenarios, Hansen was pretending to use an imaginary knife—but Gallagher was using an actual gun. As they simulated attacking each other, Gallagher drew his handgun and aimed it at Hansen. During the simulated confrontation, Gallagher fired the gun, hitting Hansen in the face. 911 was called and emergency personnel responded, but Hansen was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.
Gallagher told Temple Terrace Police detectives that he believed the gun was empty during their role-playing scenarios.
“Mr. Hansen’s death is a tragedy, and it’s made even more tragic because it was completely preventable. When someone shows this kind of carelessness in handling a deadly weapon, they must be held accountable,” Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said. “Our prosecutors will do all we can to deliver justice and make it clear that in Hillsborough County, you are responsible for your actions.”
If found guilty of Manslaughter with a Firearm, a first-degree felony, Gallagher would face up to 30 years in prison.