No charges will be filed against James “McCabe” Mallin in the shooting death of his girlfriend, Audrey Lowndes, in the early morning hours of April 15.
“Mr. Mallin’s actions were reasonable in that situation despite the consequences,” read a press release from District Attorney Sherry Caloia’s office. “This was a horrible accident that unfortunately is all too common in our world.”
The release treats the death as an accident and paints a picture of events in keeping with what Mallin told investigators, effectively closing the case.
“I’m very relieved,” Mallin told the Post Independent on Tuesday. “All along I knew that I’d done nothing wrong.”
According to Mallin, Lowndes attended her first Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in several years with Mallin and his father on the evening of April 14, which left her nervous but excited. When they returned, they made food and started casually drinking and watching TV.
Later, after their roommate had returned home, Lowndes’ mood changed and she left the group and shut herself in the bedroom. When Mallin went to check on her, he found her holding his rifle.
The DA’s press release states that Mallin had stored the weapon legally and separately from its ammunition and that Lowndes was intoxicated and “exhibiting unstable behavior” before she obtained and loaded the gun. Mallin, it states, had reason to believe that situation presented a danger to one or both of them.
No one else was in the bedroom at the time, although Mallin’s father and the roommate were in the living room. Mallin attempted to get the rifle away from Lowndes and, in the ensuing struggle, it discharged and struck her in the head.
Mallin called 911 and attempted to administer first aid.
Lowndes was transported to Valley View Hospital and then to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction where she died later that day. Meanwhile, Mallin was arrested on preliminary charges of first-degree attempted murder and was held for a week before being released.
‘TRYING TO REBUILD MY LIFE’
Mallin said that he understands the protocol, but expressed deep regret that he was unable to be with his Lowndes in the hospital.
“They took away from me holding her hand while she was passing away,” he said.
An online obituary from Lowndes’ brother, Tasker, echoes that sentiment. “We could not believe McCabe to be capable of such a crime, and we still hold firmly to that belief,” it read, calling the incident “a very tragic accident.”
Mallin, who remains in contact with Lowndes’ family, said he was extremely grateful for their support, as well of the support of his own friends and family and the community at large.
Mallin has since moved out of the south Glenwood trailer where the incident occurred and is spending some time away from the valley while he tries to pick up the pieces.
“I’m still trying to rebuild my life,” he said.
Lowndes’ sister, Marcie Alban-Lowndes, said Audrey was a protective sister, compassionate, artsy and intelligent, and would be the first person to give her life to save another.
Christin Crokett, who introduced Mallin and Lowndes, emphasized Audrey’s generosity, congeniality, and “zest for life.”
“She was always there to help in any way that she could,” she said.
Mallin echoed the sentiment.
“Audrey was hands down the kindest person I ever met. She’d give you the last 10 cents in her pocket if you asked for it. She touched the hearts and souls of everyone she met and always put a smile on people’s faces,” he said. “Her loss hurts me, her family, our family and the entire community.”