Delco woman charged with fatally shooting husband

Posted: April 30, 2013

A DELAWARE COUNTY man who was showing his wife how to use a gun after the couple had been drinking for six hours was killed when his wife misfired one of the weapons, police said yesterday.

Parkside Borough Chief John Egan said police were called to the couple's home on Roland Road near Edgmont Avenue shortly before 4 a.m. Saturday and found William Wanko, 43, lying at the bottom of the basement stairs with a single gunshot wound just below his Adam's apple.

He was taken to Crozer-Chester Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 4:21 a.m.

Wanko's wife, Michele, 42, told police that she and her husband began drinking lemonade and vodka about 9 p.m. Friday, and about six hours into the drinking session the stay-at-home mom told her husband that she wanted to learn how to use a gun in case someone tried to break in while he was away, Egan said.

William Wanko took out several weapons from a locked safe in the couple's basement and was showing his wife how to properly use them, according to police. As he was getting another gun out of the safe, Michele Wanko allegedly picked up a semiautomatic pistol, pulled the slide back as her husband had instructed and the gun went off, striking William Wanko.

"He was able to say, according to her, 'I can't believe you shot me,' " Egan said.

Michele Wanko called 9-1-1.

"To say the very least, she was frantic," Egan said. "When she called 9-1-1 . . . they could not tell from the way that she was yelling and screaming into the phone what happened."

The couple's 5-year-old son awoke when he heard his mother scream, Egan said. A 2-year-old son was also in the house at the time, he said.

Michele Wanko was charged with involuntary manslaughter and related offenses.

"It's a very sad situation, not only for the wife who has to live with this for the rest of her life, but their children who have to live with this and, of course, have to grow up without a father," Egan said.

Parkside is a .21-square-mile borough of a little more than 2,200 residents that borders Chester. This marks the first homicide in the borough in 13 years, Egan said.

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