Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Thursday, September 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Cloudy 56° Cloudy
News >  Spokane

Man charged with illegally possessing gun used in Russian roulette death

UPDATED: Wed., July 3, 2019, 5:11 p.m.

Adolfo R. Chavez, 24, right, appears Friday in Spokane County Superior Court. Chavez is charged with illegal possession of a firearm, after police say  his friend shot himself with the revolver while playing Russian roulette. (Will Campbell / The Spokesman-Review)
Adolfo R. Chavez, 24, right, appears Friday in Spokane County Superior Court. Chavez is charged with illegal possession of a firearm, after police say his friend shot himself with the revolver while playing Russian roulette. (Will Campbell / The Spokesman-Review)

The friend of a man who shot himself in the head while playing Russian roulette in February 2018 was arrested last week after a yearlong investigation into his alleged illegal possession of the gun used in the shooting.

The suspect, Adolfo R. Chavez, 24, also had asked the victim of the shooting to sell the gun for him, according to court records.

Chavez was arrested and booked into Spokane County Jail on Thursday. He appeared Friday in Spokane County Superior Court and bond was set at $5,000 by Court Commissioner John Stine. Chavez also has bond set at $1,000 bond for reckless driving.

Earlier during the hearing Friday, the prosecuting attorney requested a $50,000 bond, but public defender Anna Nordtvedt said that by associating the gun with Russian roulette, prosecutors were trying “to inflame the court and get a $50,000 bond.”

Chavez remained in jail as of Tuesday night. His arraignment is set for at 9:30 a.m. July 9.

Chavez’s friend, 34-year-old Thomas Delafield, shot himself with a revolver during the February 2018 incident at Chavez’s house, according to court records.

Three days prior to the shooting, Chavez had messaged Delafield and asked if he knew if anyone wanted to buy the revolver, according to digital records from Facebook found by detectives. Delafield had responded, “I can ask.”

A woman who was the only witness to the shooting said Delafield, out of the blue, told her, “Let’s play Russian roulette.” He then put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger, according to court records. The woman called 911, and police found the .22-caliber revolver near Delafield, who was still alive. Paramedics took him to a hospital, where he died the next day.

After the shooting, detectives searched the house on the 1500 block of North Nelson Street and found a second gun, a .22-caliber rifle, with paperwork that indicated Chavez owned it, according to court documents. Chavez was convicted of felony robbery in 2011 and is legally prohibited from owning guns.

An investigation found that Chavez’s DNA matched DNA on the gun used in the shooting, a Liberty Arms 21 .22-caliber revolver, according to court documents.

Police say Chavez lied to detectives and said the gun was not his but later admitted to possessing it.

The shooting witness told detectives she was helping Delafield sell the revolver, but she only had met Delafield that day and did not know it was possessed illegally, according to court documents.

Chavez denies being present when Delafield shot himself.

This article has been corrected to accurately state that Chavez and Delafield were not roommates.

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com