RAINBOW CITY, Ala. (WIAT) — A well-known bank manager died after Rainbow City Police said he accidentally shot himself Monday morning.
Chris Daniel, 54, was the manager at Exchange Bank and was found unresponsive by another employee. According to Rainbow City Police, surveillance video from inside the bank appeared to show something startled Daniel, who typically carried a firearm.
Investigators said Daniel tripped and his gun went off.
“There was nothing outside of just him coming in the building and making it safe and ended with the tragedy of him tripping, and his own firearm being the cause of death,” said Jonathan Horton, Rainbow City Police Chief. “His family needs prayer and he’s a very well-known outstanding citizen in the community.” said Rainbow City Police Chief Jonathan Horton.
Daniel had been a part of organizing the Alabama Chocolate Festival, a large event in Rainbow City, for more than 10 years.
“It was just unbelievable what all he’s donated, his time, and efforts and everything that we’ve ever done community wide,” said Beth Lee, a friend of Daniel’s.
Lee said Daniel also volunteered to help the city with other various events. Neighbors who knew Daniel feared the worst when they saw police outside the bank Monday morning.
“I assumed that he’d went in and somebody jumped out of the bushes or something, and that’s what I thought,” said Ron Seawright.
Seawright said Daniel was more than just his banker, but also his friend.
“I never failed to walk into that bank when he’d be sitting in his office and throw his hand up and say hey Ron,” said Seawright.
For many in town, it was difficult to hear the shooting was accidental. Daniel leaves behind a wife, two children, and a grandchild.
“It makes you value how being alive is, one little slip that’s all it takes is one little slip,” said Seawright.
Bows had been placed outside the door and mailbox of the bank by mid afternoon.
“He was always looking for ways to be involved in the city,” said Lee.
The bank will re-open to customers Tuesday.