Editors note: This story was erroneously posted as a current item, but we misread the feed date of “March 09, 2004″ as March 2012. We apologize for the error. — Don Zaidle, editor-in-chief
A man was killed during a Masonic initiation ceremony when another member fired a gun loaded with real bullets instead of the expected blanks and shot him in the face, police said Tuesday.
A 76-year-old man alleged to have fired the shot was charged with manslaughter.
William James, 47, was shot while participating in an induction Monday night at the Southside Masonic Lodge (search), Suffolk County police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Detective Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick said the ritual that went “tragically wrong” involves making a loud noise to frighten the new member.
“The ceremony was designed to create a state of anxiety,” he said.
The lieutenant said the Masons sat James in a chair and placed cans on a small platform around his head.