Mother Kills Son, Father Wants Gun Range to Pay

Florida man sues shooting range after ex-wife kills son with rented gun.

April 18, 2009— -- 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.

Suicide Notes and Taped Message

"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.

Psychosis and severe depression can lead women to believe they are killing their children to end their suffering or because they believe they are demonically possessed, Dr. John Bradford, head of the forensic psychiatry department at the University of Ottawa, previously told

"When you're psychotically depressed, the whole world appears as if you're looking through dull gray glass," Bradford said.

"When you look at your children, you see them through your own suffering and emotional pain and believe they, too, are suffering. You begin to think they and you would be better off in heaven. This is an altruistic delusion. The results are horrific, but it's done in the hopes of stopping suffering," he said.