Steve Hernandez, a friend of Smiler’s since the early ’90s, said today that Smiler received the bolt-action rifle as a gift several years ago from the mother of his then girlfriend. He showed it off to friends several weeks ago, Hernandez said, and it was unloaded at the time. Smiler died of a shotgun was found with a bullet wound to the head.
Smiler lived with his girlfriend, Cara Cottle, and three others. Police came to their Annandale house Monday night after one roommate reported that Smiler had been shot. Cottle, 31, is currently in a psychiatric hospital, the Washington Post reported this morning. No one has been charged, Officer Bud Walker of the Fairfax Police said, and police are considering none of the individuals involved to be a flight risk. “We don’t feel any need to rush the investigation,” he says. “We’re going to take that step by step.”
Detectives won’t decide whether the incident was a homicide or an accidental death until they’ve received the results of an autopsy, Walker said. He wouldn’t speculate on how long that could take.
That Smiler’s death involved a gun surprised another friend, Voron Xarya. “I would guess he didn’t even own one.” Xarya, like other friends of Smiler who spoke with Arts Desk, described Smiler as jovial and flamboyant, a social butterfly who often welcomed newcomers to the goth scene—-as comfortable dressed to the nines in a nightclub as covered in armor at a Rennaissance Fair. “He had swords,” Xarya says. “But everybody has swords.”