The ongoing saga of gun violence in the United States has claimed another life this week, this time that of a longtime GOP staffer who had worked on campaigns for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, and President Donald Trump.
The 30 year old Nick Corvino was discovered by deputies who were responding to alarms at his apartment in Kissimmee, Florida. When deputies arrived at the residence, Corvino’s roommate, 45 year old Scott Waddell, answered the door with blood on him.
After detaining Waddell, deputies discovered the dead Corvino on a bed in a back room, having been shot 13 times, including in the head, back, and legs.
Adding to the tumult over the case is that Waddell claims to be mentally disabled, saying he was on medication. According to a police report, the 45 year old woke up “scared and being in Nicholas’ room where he saw Nicholas covered in blood with a gun lying next to him.”
Waddell — who reportedly repeatedly asked if Corvino was dead during his interview — “told deputies he didn’t remember shooting Corvino and was surprised to be talking to them.” He added that he “sometimes has homicidal thoughts about killing young men, but has never acted on them,” according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel.
Deputies believe that the gunshots set off the alarms that brought them to the residence. When the alarms went off, cameras inside the apartment switched on as well. Footage from these cameras captures what appears to be the immediate aftermath of the shooting, with Waddell “seen moving Corvino’s body to the side of the bed and staring at him for several minutes.”
Considering the details of Corvino’s death, it’s up to Republicans not only to strengthen gun regulations, but also to strengthen health care for the mentally ill.
The convergence of these two issues creates some questions, such as why, if Waddell was ill, he was allowed to own firearms. He says he owns the handgun he killed Corvino with and a shotgun.
Earlier this year, the president signed a measure into law that makes it easier for mentally ill people to buy guns. The measure was a repeal of an Obama-era regulation that, according to Vox, “required the Social Security Administration to disclose to the FBI information about people who are getting disability benefits due to severe mental illness.” The reasoning behind the regulation was “to make it a bit easier for the FBI to flag those with severe mental illness while doing a background check on a firearm purchase.”
The “severe mental illness” that would have caused prospective firearm owners’ background checks to indicate a no go is defined as that which made them unable to handle their own disability benefits.
It’s not immediately clear what, if any, illness Waddell is actually afflicted with. The Orlando Sentinel report on the shooting incident notes that the police report “did not say what medications he was on.”
Although the president has not responded to Corvino’s death — and the issues it raises of the need for increased gun regulations — key members of the Florida GOP have done so, including state attorney general Pam Bondi, who said she was “heartbroken” at the news.