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Man kills himself playing Russian Roulette

One man is dead after police say he lost a game of Russian Roulette in front of his friends early Friday.

Merced Lt. Bimley West said the victim, a white male about 24 years old, was in the garage of a residence around 1:30 a.m. at 690 East 21st Street and had a revolver. Two of his friends were present at the residence -- and one actually watched the man take his own life, West said.

West said the man placed a single bullet in one of the revolver’s chambers and then pulled the trigger. “He wanted to show his friends something that would scare them,” West said. “In this case it was just one trigger pull too many.”

When the gun did not go off the first time, West said the victim pulled the trigger several more times until the gun went off. The man was taken to Mercy Medical Center Merced and later died. His identity hasn’t yet been released, pending notification of next-of-kin.

West said police are investigating whether alcohol or drugs were involved.

Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or