Two people were injured when a man accidentally discharged his weapon at a church gathering in Tellico Plains, Tennessee. An 81-year old man and his wife, 80, both suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said, when the man accidentally shot himself and his wife with a single bullet.
On Thursday afternoon, members of the First United Methodist Church were having a pre-Thanksgiving lunch, Tellico Plains Police Department Chief Russ Parks said. WATE reports that elder members were discussing the idea of bringing weapons into places of worship, considering the merits in light of the mass shooting at a Texas church earlier this month, during which more than two dozen people died.
Parks reported that “one of the gentlemen said, ‘Well, I take my gun with me everywhere.'”
The statement prompted the 81-year-old man to produce his own weapon: a .380 caliber Ruger handgun.
ABC News reports:
The 81-year-old man took his handgun out of his pocket, removed the magazine, cleared the weapon and handed it to other churchgoers who wanted to see it, Parks said.
He then took his weapon back, placed the magazine back in it, put the gun back in his holster and placed it in his pocket, Parks said.
Having displayed sound gun safety etiquette, what the man did next was terribly unfortunate.
Another man came over and asked to see the weapon, the man pulled his gun back out of his pocket and accidentally hit the trigger, firing one round, Parks said.
A single bullet struck the gun owner in his right hand before hitting his 80-year-old wife, Parks said. That bullet went through the woman’s left side of her abdomen and came out of the right side of her abdomen, after which it struck her inside right forearm, came out of her forearm, struck the wall, ricocheted and landed at her wheelchair, Parks said.
According to police, the incident is being considered an accident. “Evidently he just forgot that he re-chambered the weapon,” Parks said, according to KNOX.
No one else was injured, and the man was carrying the gun legally, so no charges are likely to be filed in the case.
Parks said, “We are currently working on a program now for our local citizens on weapon safety. Sometimes we don’t get enough of that for the general public.”
— Spectrum News (@ProNewsViews) November 17, 2017
Elder members at First United Methodist Church in Tellico Plains, TN, were talking about the recent church shooting in TX.
“A man spoke up and said he carries his everywhere he goes. He pulled the gun out…”
Hope he & his wife recover soon https://t.co/kl4WdgCxBT
— HGTomato 🍅 (@HGTomato) November 16, 2017
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 17, 2017