Accidental Shooters Strike Three Times in One Week

A father and son were sitting on the floor of the dad's North Seattle apartment yesterday afternoon, showing each other how to safely load and unload guns. Then--whoops!--the dad accidentally shot his son. Think that's weird? How about the fact that this is only one of three seemingly accidentally shootings in the past week.

In the North Seattle incident, according to the police report, the father discharged his handgun as he was disassembling it, not realizing he had inadvertently placed a loaded magazine into the weapon. The bullet struck the son, who is an adult, in his upper thigh and buttocks.

Not only was it a lesson in how not to handle guns, but it was apparently also one in not 'fessing up to the truth. "When the initial 911 call was made, it was reported that the son had accidentally shot himself," according to the Seattle Police blotter, which adds that the case is still under investigation.

Unfortunately, a young man shooting himself is not a farfetched scenario. Just look at what happened around 7:45 a.m. that same day. Police got a call from a woman who said that her 17-year-old son had been shot in South Seattle. When officers reached the teen, he said he had been shot in the thigh after boarding a bus at Rainier Avenue South and South Holly St.

He was sketchy on the details, however, saying "he had no idea what had happened or who shot him," according to police. As officers investigated, they determined that the teen had accidentally shot himself while riding the bus.

Why is a 17-year-old carrying a gun? The young man, whose name is not being released, did not tell police. But, wearing an orange rag in his back pocket, he did admit to gang-banging in the past and, on this day, having a "beef with several people," according to the police report. A convicted felon, he is now looking at a possible charge of unlawful possession of a firearm.

The final incident occurred around 2 a.m. last Saturday. A group of 20-somethings were out partying at a nightclub. SPD spokesperson Renee Witt, looking at the dates of birth of those involved, guesses they were celebrating the birthday of one of the guys.

Then they all piled in cars and headed to the Rainier Valley. That's when the birthday boy got an unwelcome gift--a bullet wound in his lower back. Police determined that one of his fellow partiers, a 23-year-old named Glenn Thompson, accidentally fired his gun while playing around with it in the backseat of the Cherokee Jeep he was in. Birthday boy was right in front of him.

Thompson was booked for investigation of assault.

Gregory Roberts, executive director of Washington CeaseFire, articulates the obvious conclusion from all this: "Guns are dangerous." There's a saying, he says: "No one ever got accidentally killed cleaning a knife."

According to state records, 33 people died and 449 were hospitalized from unintentional shootings between 2005 and 2009.

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