It’s a violent scene that wouldn’t be out of place in AMC’s zombie drama The Walking Dead: a man grabs a .22-caliber semiautomatic rifle and casually fires a bullet into his girlfriend’s back. But this shooting wasn’t on The Walking Dead — it was because of it. Long Island man Jared Gurman has been charged with second-degree attempted murder after shooting Jessica Gelderman, 27, during a heated argument over the hit TV series. Gelderman remains in the hospital with her rib shattered and lung and diaphragm pierced. She is in stable condition.
The argument started when the 26-year-old Gurman was out with his longtime girlfriend on Sunday night. Their discussion turned to the TV show, and Gurman expressed his conviction that a “military mishap” would soon occur in the drama, which is about human survival in the face of a zombie invasion, according to a Long Island detective. “He felt very adamant that there could be some type of military mishap that would result in some sort of virus or something being released that could cause terrible things to happen,” Detective Lt. Raymond Cote said at a Tuesday news conference, reported by Newsday.
But Gelderman, who has been in a relationship with Gurman for 3 1/2 years, found his assertion “ridiculous,” Cote said. As the boiling spat continued to escalate, she decided to leave and spend the night at her parents’ house. But the argument didn’t end with her exit, progressing into a text message argument instead. Disturbed by the “bitter and angry” exchange, police said, she headed back to his apartment in Williston Park to check up on him around 2:30 a.m., Newsday reports.
There, she found Gruman sitting on the stairs, armed with a rifle. “She tried to defuse the situation, to calm him down,” Cote explained, according to NBC. “She was walking up the stairs when Mr. Gurman raised the rifle, pointed it at her and fired one round into her back. He drove Gelderman to a nearby hospital after the shooting. He was promptly arrested but when police questioned Gurman about his girlfriend’s gun wounds, he lied at first, saying the shooting was an accident, NBC reports. But he later admitted to firing the bullet: “Jess walked into the room and I fired the gun once and hit her,” Gurman later said in a police statement, according to Newsday. “She said, ‘Oh my God. What did you do?'”
Police described Gurman as “passionate” about weapons and had seized three long guns in his home, NBC reports. He was ordered jailed without bail — he should probably hope it doesn’t mirror the one that serves as a centerpiece in the show.