- The Washington Times - Monday, July 11, 2016

Actor Wil Wheaton confused and angered a number of his fans Monday when he blamed a courthouse shooting on the National Rifle Association.

Three people died and one person was injured in St. Joseph, Michigan, Monday when a criminal at Berrien County Courthouse stole a deputy’s handgun and began firing.

Mr. Wheaton, perhaps best known for his work on the movie “Stand by Me” and the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” television series, posted a profanity-laced tweet as news broke.

“Welcome to America. It has been 0 days since our last mass shooting. #F**ktheNRA,” the actor wrote.

Witnesses said an inmate who was on his way to jail managed to steal the officer’s weapon, a local ABC affiliate reported. The shooter was killed on the scene.

Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey told reporters that “brave officers” returned fire against the inmate.

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“MSP has secured the scene at the Berrien County courthouse and started its investigation into the shooting that occurred this afternoon,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder tweeted at 4:30 p.m. EST. “Please join me in praying for those affected. We will share more information here from MSP as it becomes available.”

Many of Mr. Wheaton’s 3 million Twitter followers mocked his hasty response to the shooting.

“Why wait for the facts when you can just lash out?” asked one.

‏”Welcome to the world of the jackwagon who blames everything on law-abiding citizens,” another follower added.

“What does the NRA have to do with a criminal grabbing an officers gun? Won’t officers still have guns in your dystopian America?” said another.

Mr. Wheaton did not tweet a clarification to his main news feed once it became known that a deputy’s weapon was stolen prior to the shooting.

Update: The actor responded to fans within his original post, “Shooter grabbed a deputy’s gun. So this is a rare circumstance where a mass shooting wasn’t enabled by the NRA.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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