- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - A man who accidentally shot his childhood friend during a northwestern Pennsylvania house party last month has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and other crimes.

Aladin Jojic, 23, had been told the gun was loaded before he nonetheless “played” with the weapon and pointed it at 23-year-old Abram Sorek during the party in Erie, authorities said. Sorek died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Sorek, of Erie, was a student at St. Vincent College in Latrobe and had been scheduled to graduate Saturday. He, Jojic and three others went to a friend’s house about 1: 30 a.m. April 12, authorities said.

According to a criminal complaint, Jojic, of Millcreek Township, and the others were in a hot tub when he told the host - who has not been charged - that he was thinking of buying a gun, prompting the other young man to retrieve his .40-caliber Glock pistol.

The other man unloaded the weapon before handing it to Jojic, then reloaded the weapon after everyone got out of the hot tub, police said. The gun’s owner told police he told Jojic the gun was loaded before asking Jojic to take the weapon back into the house.

Instead, Jojic, “began ‘playing’ with the handgun” before pointing it at Sorek and pulling the trigger, according to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday.

The manslaughter charge carries up to five years in prison upon conviction. Jojic is also charged with reckless endangerment and aggravated assault which, because it’s a felony, actually carries a longer potential sentence than the manslaughter count, up to 20 years in prison.

“These two guys were best friends since they were young kids,” defense attorney Philip Friedman said. “They went to school together. They saw each other all the time. It is just horrible from everyone’s standpoint.”

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