Pinkie shot off in gun shop accident
FROM ULTIMATE CLEAR LAKE'S THAYER EVANS
A gunsmith from Pasadena lost his pinkie when a handgun mistakenly thought to be unloaded went off.
League City Police Sgt. John Jordan said the accident occurred about 5:25 p.m. Thursday at The Arms Room, 107 Landing Blvd. in League City.
A Friendswood man told police that he had brought his 9 mm Smith and Wesson handgun to the store to have a gunsmith look at it.
The gun owner told police that he never carries his weapon with a round in the chamber and checked to make sure it was unloaded.
The gun owner said he took the pistol out of his holster at the store and removed its magazine before handing it to a woman who worked at the store, Jordan said.
Both the gun owner and the employee told police she too checked the gun and didn't think it was loaded, Jordan said.
While she was off helping another customer, gunsmith James Howell took the gun to look it over. He pulled the gun's slide back to make sure it wasn't loaded and then put its magazine back in the weapon, the gun owner told police. While the two were talking, the gun fired and a bullet struck Howell in the left hand, severing his little finger.
Basically, the gunsmith somehow or another loaded a round back in to the chamber," Jordan said.
Howell, 62, of Pasadena, was treated at a local hospital.
League City police investigated the shooting and ruled it to be an accidental discharge.
Messages left for Howell and the general manager of The Arms Room were not immediately returned Tuesday.
Jordan said the incident underscores the importance of gun safety.
Obviously, any time you are handling a gun you need to make sure that it is clear and unloaded," Jordan said. That's not what happened this time. One of our basic firearm safety rules is to treat every weapon as if it were loaded. That wasn't followed."
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