By Darrell Todd Maurina
A Clovis truck company owner bled to death Sunday evening after accidentally shooting himself in an apparent attempt to ward off potential attackers.
According to police reports, Daniel Stockton, 52, was in his pickup truck with his wife Rhonda when a car sideswiped his vehicle near the corner of Eighth and Axtell streets. Stockton followed the car north on Axtell until it stopped and the driver and two male passengers appeared to be getting out to come toward his pickup, reports said.
Rhonda Stockton told police her husband retrieved his pistol from the center console, cocked the pistol, and it fired.
Staff members at Steed-Todd Funeral Home, which will be handling the funeral, said the gunshot severed an artery in Daniel Stockton’s leg.
According to police reports, Daniel Stockton tried to drive to the hospital but only made it a few blocks when he passed out.
By the time police arrived, about 10 p.m., they could not detect a pulse. Daniel Stockton was transported to Plains Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Clovis police later arrested the driver of the car that was involved in the accident with the Stocktons’ pickup. Manuel Gonzalez, 44, of Clovis, remained in the Curry County Adult Detention Center on Monday night in lieu of $8,000 bond, according to jail officials. Gonzalez is being held on charges of aggravated driving while intoxicated, driving on a revoked license, leaving the scene of an accident, and failure to make immediate notice of an accident.
Clinton Bishop, the Stocktons’ son-in-law, said Daniel Stockton’s survivors include two adult daughters, his wife and his mother.
Bishop said Stockton was familiar with guns, had used them since he was a teenager, and had been a competitive shooter and a frequent hunter.
“He was an avid gunsman, he knew the ins and outs of a gun,” Bishop said. “I don’t know how to explain this.”
Bishop said family members were sure Daniel Stockton drew the gun to protect his wife and himself.
“After the hit-and run with the guys coming toward him, he thought he’d better protect his family,” Bishop said. “He would do anything for his wife and his daughters.”
Stockton and his wife were dropping off a paycheck for one of his employees at Stockton & Stockton trucking when the wreck occurred, police said.
Bishop said Daniel Stockton lived most of his life in Melrose, moving to Clovis only 1 1/2 years ago, and still visited his mother’s farm in Melrose on a daily basis.
Bishop said Rhonda Stockton was not injured and is doing “as well as can be expected.
“It’s hard to really know how we’re feeling since it hasn’t yet sunk in, but she’s staying together,” he said.