First gun show accident of 2014 continues avg. 1-per-month streak into 3rd year: GunFAIL LVII
Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 12:30 PM PST
By far, the greatest danger was, as usual, posed to the person handling the gun. Twelve people accidentally shot themselves in this latest collection of stories, and there were nine children accidentally wounded by gunfire, raging in from ages 3, 4, 8, 16, and 17.
Our title story this week comes to us from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where we found the first accidental discharge at a gun show in 2014. How often does this really happen? Well, this latest incident continues the streak stretching back to 2012 during which we've averaged about one such accident per month, according to the stories I've been able to find. Though it should perhaps be noted that the average was padded by a whopping seven accidents at gun shows during the month of January 2013 (Marietta, OH; Monroe, WA; Laporte, IN; Raleigh, NC; Medina, OH; Indianapolis, IN, and; Des Moines, IA), including three on "Gun Appreciation Day," last January 19th.
Here's hoping the slow pace of accidents continues! Now, below the fold, last week's compilation.
- HOLYOKE, MA, 11/24/13: Police Sgt. John P. Hart has been suspended 10 days without pay for leaving his gun, which was recovered, in a restroom at the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside Nov. 24, Chief James M. Neiswanger said Wednesday. This was Hart's second weapon misplacement in two years; he was suspended for losing a sniper rifle in 2011 that was recovered as well. Neiswanger said in an email that an investigation found Hart "violated several rules and regulations" of the Police Department in relation to temporarily losing his gun at the mall, though Neiswanger didn't elaborate, and he couldn't be reached for comment. "Additional administrative restrictions have been imposed upon (Hart) for the next year," Neiswanger said in the email without elaborating.
- LAKESIDE CITY, TX, 1/08/14: The body of 55-year-old Paul Morath, Junior was found in early January in a small metal building off Highway 79 near Bowman Road. Authorities say Morath died of an accidental gun shot wound. Officials say the firearm was not functioning properly and had either been intentionally modified or had broken. It's unclear why Morath had the gun or what he was doing when it went off. Morath was seen earlier that morning checking into work, and investigators say he probably had been dead for a few hours before being discovered by a co-worker.
- CHATTANOOGA, TN, 1/12/14: Chattanooga Police are continuing their investigation after a 17-year-old was shot in the head at a home on 13th Avenue Sunday afternoon. The incident report reveals detectives were initially told an unidentified suspect pulled up in a vehicle, got out of the passenger seat and started firing shots towards the victim and his two friends as they headed back from the store on Rossville Boulevard. After doing a little digging, detectives found holes in that story. They believe the first story the victim's friend told the arriving officer. The juvenile said, they were playing with a 22 caliber pistol. Detectives believe one of the teenage boys accidentally shot the 17-year-old in the back of the head.
- ORRINGTON, ME, 1/30/14: A local resident said he is worried about the safety of people in his neighborhood and those who use his land after he was told that five stray bullets whizzed through the treetops above his property recently. Jerry Perkins, 69, who owns 375 acres of land off Perkins Point Road and whose family has lived in Orrington for 150 years, said he believes the shots were fired from the Orrington Rod and Gun Club’s rifle range, located on East Bucksport Road. The club’s property abuts Perkins’ land. Perkins, a retired school teacher and coach, said he learned about the stray bullets from a commercial logger who has been harvesting trees on his land. He said he believes the shots were fired from a high-powered rifle. “I want to be a good neighbor, but also I’ve got to protect our property here. We’ve got people who live down here. We’ve got families that live down here,” Perkins said, adding that there are eight households on his stretch of road along Brewer Lake. The Jan. 30 incident resulted in some tense moments for Dustin Young, a 22-year-old commercial logger from Waltham, who said he was changing a flat tire on a log harvester on Perkins’ property when he heard bullets going overhead. “I was standing here next to my machine which had a flat tire, and I heard some gunshots go off. I didn’t think anything of it, I figured it was just a normal thing in the neighborhood,” he said Tuesday. “Then I heard a bullet [go through the trees] over my head [which] I thought was a little funny. I was waiting and waiting, and then I heard another one. “So I started getting a little nervous. I started standing behind the machine and then I heard three more after that,” he said. “I was thinking a bullet might ricochet off something and hit me. I was thinking I was gonna get hit in the back of the head with a bullet or something, or in the arm, or [that it would] take out the windshield of my truck.”
- AURORA, CO, 2/01/2014: A 17-year-old boy charged as an adult with murder told police he accidentally killed his girlfriend — the mother of his infant daughter — during a bungled robbery early this month. Duantae Jerome Terrell told police he shot his girlfriend, 18-year-old Korin Lijah Williams, in the chest while the couple and another man, Abdullah Jhalil Ratcliff, 19, tried to rob a man Feb. 1 at the Weatherstone Apartments in Aurora.
- CANTON, MI, 2/04/14: Police reported a 14-year-old boy to Wayne County juvenile authorities after he said he accidentally fired his father’s 20-gauge shotgun through a mobile home window on the night of Feb. 4, puncturing a tire on a neighbor’s vehicle. The other incident happened about 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, inside a mobile home in the 51000 block of Mott Road, when a 14-year-old boy initially claimed someone had shot a pellet through a window, a police report said. The teen said he, his brother and a friend were sitting inside the mobile home when the incident occurred. However, a police investigation revealed the 14-year-old boy caused the damage after he got a shotgun from his father’s bedroom and it went off, a police report said. As the investigation unfolded, the teen told police he had been threatened on Facebook and had gotten the shotgun for his own safety. The police report indicated he racked the weapon and accidentally fired a shot through a window, damaging a car tire outside. The teen had put the shotgun back in its case before police arrived. Authorities indicated the boy has a hearing on the matter in Wayne County Juvenile Court.
- SPRINGDALE, AR, 2/04/14: Springdale police are searching for a man they say shot himself in the leg, then lied to officers about it. He may still be on crutches. Police are looking for 23-year-old Remberto Alexander Rivera, who told police Feb. 4 that he was shot during a fight near Murphy Park. Rivera was treated at Northwest Medical Center in Springdale for a gunshot wound to the leg. He was later released, according to Springdale police. Detectives determined through the investigation that Rivera had lied to them, and that he instead had accidentally shot himself in the leg, police said. Two felony warrants have been issued for Rivera’s arrest, including possession of a firearm and filing a false police report.
- JACKSON, TN, 2/05/14: Jackson Police are investigating a Wednesday evening shooting and for now they are releasing no suspect information. Officers were called to the 600 block of Rich Smith Way just off the Highway 70 By-Pass in east Jackson just before 7 p.m. Investigators said they found a man who had been shot in the leg. Though officers said he originally said someone shot him, they have since determined he accidentally shot himself. He is expected to fully recover.
- GALLATIN, TN, 2/06/14: A young man is fighting for his life after an accidental shooting overnight in Gallatin. Police say a 23-year-old was shot in the chest at a home on Hale Avenue. He was airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in critical condition.
- EUTAWVILLE, SC, 2/08/14: The Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Saturday’s shooting death of a man on Yearling Drive in Eutawville. “Officers were called to the Yearling Drive residence at 2:18 p.m. in reference to a shooting incident,” Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said in a release. “Our preliminary investigation indicates a 59-year-old male asked his 14-year-old grandson to retrieve a gun,” Ravenell said. “As the 14-year-old was retrieving the weapon, it accidentally discharged ricocheted through the house and struck the grandfather, fatally injuring him.” The incident is still under investigation.
- SPARTANBURG, SC, 2/08/13: Spartanburg County deputies are investigating an armed robbery early Saturday at a Waffle House. Lt. Tony Ivey, a spokesman for the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office, said a gunshot was accidentally discharged but no one was hurt. According to an incident report, a deputy responded to the report of a robbery at the Waffle House at 8121 Warren H. Abernathy Highway near Spartanburg before 3 a.m. An employee stated a man came into the restaurant and pointed a black handgun at another waitress and demanded money, according to the report. At one point, the man's face covering fell off and when he bent over to hide his face again, his handgun discharged, the report states. The man then ran out of the establishment with an undisclosed amount of money. Multiple witnesses reported seeing the gun discharge, the report states.
- PORT ORCHARD, WA, 2/08/14: A 17-year-old girl shot herself in the foot late Saturday afternoon. The teen was at her Kerry Lane home at about 4:30 p.m. when Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies were sent there. She was home alone trying to familiarize herself with a .22 caliber rifle. She didn’t know it was loaded, it went off and the bullet hit her in the foot, according to the sheriff’s office. She was treated at a Tacoma hospital.
- WEWOKA, OK, 2/08/14: The life of an 8-year-old boy was claimed Saturday in a tragic accident. Katie, a Wewoka resident, said, “Everyone is talking about it. Everybody’s mourning about it.” On Saturday, officials say 8-year-old Lane Azlin slipped on ice while hunting. As he fell, his .22 pistol went off, causing him to shoot himself. A short time later, Lane died from his injuries. It happened just north of the town of Wewoka. While not everyone in town knew Lane, most know of his family. Undersheriff Chris Conn, with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, said, “I know the mother and father, they’re very good people and probably taught him everything he would need to know about safety with the gun.” Conn added, “One of the kids said the kid slipped on some ice, everything points to that’s what happened.” The sheriff’s office tells us they have ruled this an accidental shooting and no charges will be filed in the case.
- TACOMA, WA, 2/09/14: Police said a woman was cleaning a gun in her Tacoma apartment early Sunday when it fired into the unit above her where a family was sleeping. No one was injured when the gun fired about 12:20 a.m. The family awoke and called 911, and the woman was booked into jail on suspicion of reckless endangerment, Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said. A one-year-old child and three-year-old child were in the apartment when the shot fired through the floor, Cool said.
- FOREST GROVE, OR, 2/09/14: A woman called police after her husband accidentally shot himself in the leg while trying to clear his gun. The man was intoxicated, which was another factor in the incident. He was transported to the hospital for treatment.
- MCLURE, OH, 2/09/14: A McClure woman was critically injured after she was accidentally shot by her husband Sunday evening. At 6:47 p.m. Sunday, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from the area of K-486 Township Road 1C in Richfield Township when Noah W. Smith, 45, of McClure reported he was hunting a squirrel in his barn with his wife, Becky L. Smith, 42, of McClure, and his gun went off, shooting her in the head.
- MUSCLE SHOALS, AL, 2/09/14: The operator of a local gun and knife show said a vendor was escorted out of the North Alabama State Fairgrounds on Sunday after a rifle accidentally discharged. “No one was injured,” said Brent Oliver, of Valley Productions Inc., on Monday. “It didn’t hit anybody. The vendor was escorted out of the show and banned from future shows. It’s an unfortunate accident. Thankfully, nobody got hurt.” Valley Productions Inc. operates the Shoals Gun and Knife Show Expo. The incident happened Sunday afternoon on the second day of the two-day expo. Organizers checked and secured the 30-30 rifle after it discharged. “We gave it back to the vendor and asked him to pack up his stuff,” Oliver said. “We’re very humbled by this. Mistakes happen, but that type of mistake does not need to happen at a gun show. I didn’t sleep well last night, I know that.” He said workers check vendors at the door to make sure weapons are secured. All firearms are required to be unloaded. “We do everything we can to make it safe for the public,” Oliver said. “We take extra measures. All weapons must have wire ties placed on them, and apparently this was put on incorrectly. He didn’t check it.” Announcements are made at the show reminding vendors to double check and be sure firearms are unloaded and make sure they are properly secured with a wire tie, Oliver said. Organizers met after the show Sunday night to discuss security measures and are working on additional operating procedures to enhance safety, Oliver said. “We take every measure possible to make it safe for the public,” he said. “It may make a lot of people mad, but they’re just going to have to get over it.”
- CRAWFORD, AL, 2/09/14: A father and his daughter along with Sheriff's deputies had to duck for cover from a barrage of bullets Sunday afternoon. "The dad took his 11-year-old daughter with him to his boss' property to get firewood, and suddenly they started getting bullets raining all around them," said Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor. The bullets from a shotgun, AR-15, handguns and other assault rifles were coming from an area that's about 150 yards into the woods. Three men were allegedly shooting at their targets that were posted right at the fence line, which is where the man and his daughter were gathering firewood. The problem is the bullets were going into property that the trio does not own. This happened on North Richardson Rd. in Crawford near Highway 169 at around 4:00 p.m. Frantically hoping to get out alive, the father called 9-1-1. When deputies arrived on the scene, they walked into the same line of fire as the first two victims. "They were all pinned down behind their cars; the 11-year-old was terrified," says Taylor. "The dad was behind a tree and she took cover behind a car…He couldn't get to his daughter at the time." No one was hurt. They three men are now charged with reckless endangerment. Richard Cleveland Ward, Zachary Ward, and Kenneth Dolly have been named suspects.
- CANTON, MI, 2/09/14: Canton police ticketed a 32-year-old man for negligent discharge of a firearm Sunday following allegations he accidentally fired a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol inside a car, injuring his hand and wounding a friend’s leg, a police report said. Police cited the 32-year-old Taylor man for an incident that happened about 4 p.m. Sunday on Nectar, in The Crossings apartment complex, southeast of Joy Road and I-275. Two men had been to a Livonia gun range and had driven to a friend’s apartment in Canton when the shooting occurred, the police report said. The suspect indicated he was showing his friend how to break down a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson when the gun fired, injuring his left hand and striking his friend, a 32-year-old Garden City man, in the leg, the report said. The bullet also pierced a pop bottle and went through the center console of a Dodge Charger. Canton paramedics took the men to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ypsilanti for injuries police said were not life-threatening.
- SPANISH FORK, UT, 2/10/14: A Spanish Fork man was taken to the hospital in critical condition after accidentally shooting himself in the stomach. The 50-year-old man was unloading a .270 caliber rifle from his truck when it discharged early Monday morning. The man was conscious and breathing when medical arrived. UPDATE: He didn't make it.