When police arrived at a Florida shooting range earlier this month, they found the dead body of Mitchell Moore with "a large amount of blood pooling under his head."
His mother, who moments earlier had walked up behind the 20-year-old man and shot him in the back of the head, was found with a self-inflicted bullet wound, slumped against a wall "gargling blood and moaning," according to the police report. She later died.
In security footage taken at the Shoot Straight range in Casselberry, Fla., April 5, the shooter, Marie Moore, 44, is seen walking up behind her son as he steps up to the line to take a shot. She places a pistol to the back of his head and fires once.
Marie Moore, police say, was emotionally disturbed and left behind a series of suicide notes and recordings in which she calls herself the "anti-Christ" and says God and the devil compelled her to kill her son and herself.
Whether or not the owners of Shoot Straight knew Marie Moore was disturbed when they rented her a gun is the crux of a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Mitchell Moore's father against the shooting range.
The father, Charles Marvin Moore, believes the company knew his ex-wife, Marie Moore, was mentally ill, that it had previously banned her from the range, and failed to check its records before renting her a gun.
According to the suit filed this week with the Florida circuit court, Shoot Straight II, Inc. "negligently fail[ed] to inspect its records or adequately warn Mitchell Moore" about his mother, whom the company knew was "unreasonably dangerous."
Charles Marvin Moore told police his ex-wife had been banned from the range "after attempting to commit suicide there several years ago," according to the police report.
Police in Casselberry said they knew of no prior incident involving the shooter.
Lawyers for the father are looking for evidence that will prove the company banned Marie from shooting at the range.
"We're looking for a document or witness with firsthand knowledge that the woman had been banned," said attorney Keith Mitnik.
"If it turns out she was banned and they let her back in, that's negligence," he said.
The lawsuit does not specify the damages being sought, except that they would exceed $15,000.
Shoot Straight would not comment on the lawsuit, the deaths or its rental policy.
"I can't comment because of the pending lawsuit," said general manager Jeff Perillo.
According to the company's Web site, a gun can be rented for $10. There is no mention of background checks in a section on the site about the range's rules.
Prior to the shooting, Marie Moore left behind a series of suicide notes and a tape recorded message for her boyfriend.
In the letters, she called her boyfriend "King." She signed them "Failed Queen."
"I had to send my son to Heaven and myself to Hell," she wrote in one note.
"I'm a good person. But the devil and God turned me into the worst person in the world. I'm so ashamed. And I'm so afraid," she said on the tape. "I have to die and go to hell so there can be 1,000 years of peace on Earth. God's turned me into the anti-Christ."
Women, forensic psychiatrists say, often are driven to kill their children out of a psychotic impulse to help them.