Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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‘Open Carry’ Supporter Arrested|on Suspicion of Double Murder

DALLAS (CN) - A Texas supporter of "open-carry" gun groups is suspected of shooting her husband and stepdaughter to death in a domestic dispute, according to police and a search warrant affidavit.

Veronica Dunnachie, 35, was arrested Wednesday afternoon at Millwood Hospital - a mental health facility - in Arlington.

Dunnachie had earlier shot and killed husband Russ Dunnachie, 50, and stepdaughter Kimberly Dunnachie, 20, at their south Arlington home, according to the evidentiary search warrant.

Police said Dunnachie called a friend, Guy Potter, after the murders and he told her to turn herself in at the hospital.

"Veronica was upset and told Potter she had just done something bad," the 4-page search warrant affidavit states.

"Potter knows that Veronica and her husband, Russ Dunnachie, are currently in the process of getting divorced. Potter tried to reassure her. Veronica told Potter she couldn't be helped this time as she had just shot her husband. Potter asked Veronica about the stepdaughter's welfare, and Veronica told Potter she had shot her too."

A Facebook profile purportedly belonging to Donnachie shows her holding a rifle at a shooting range. It includes several photographs of Donnachie with firearms at rallies organized by Open Carry Texas and Open Carry Tarrant County.

The groups, which support open carrying of handguns in Texas, have been criticized when supporters enter stores with rifles and frighten customers. The highly publicized incidents have resulted in companies, including Target and Chipotle, asking customers to not bring firearms into their businesses.

Critics of the groups reacted quickly to Dunnachie's arrest.

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence posted a Dallas Morning News story about the killings and linked to an image of Open Carry Tarrant County's Facebook profile that identified Dunnachie as a member of the group "dedicated to the cause."

Open Carry Tarrant County could not be reach for comment Thursday evening. Its president Kory Watkins said that Dunnachie is not a member of the group, according to the gun enthusiasts' website Guns.com.

Open Carry Texas coordinator C.J. Grisham declined to comment to Courthouse News on the Dunnachie case, citing lack of facts. He said the group "is dedicated to the safe and legal carry of firearms."

Open Carry Tarrant County and Watkins sued Arlington in May in Fort Worth Federal Court over an ordinance banning their practice of handing out copies of the Constitution to motorists while carrying their long guns. The ordinance banned the activity at streets with significant traffic, with $500 in fines for each violation.

The group caught the attention of city officials when it began holding walks in the city's entertainment district, which includes AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park in Arlington - the homes of the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers - and the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park.

Arlington officials cited safety concerns in enacting the ordinance.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor struck down the ordinance in July as overreaching, finding the city has "a number of less restrictive means" of reaching safety goals.

The Arlington City Council passed a revised version of the ordinance in October to make it less speech-restrictive, but Open Carry Tarrant County supporters and other residents voiced concerns that it did not go far enough and threatened another lawsuit .

Dunnachie remained at the Arlington Jail on Thursday. She will be charged with capital murder and no other suspects are believed to be involved, according to Arlington police spokesperson Tiara Richard.

No bail has been set.

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