Police: Wichita man playing 'quick draw' accidentally shot child

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email

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WICHITA, Kan. -- UPDATE: Police say the 70-year-old man committed suicide after being released from jail. More on that story can be found by clicking here.

Previous story:

Police say a Wichita man who accidentally shot a child in the face over the weekend was playing a game.

The incident happened just after midnight Sunday morning at a home in the 5800 block of East Kincaid. That's near Mt. Vernon and Woodlawn in southeast Wichita.

Police say a 70-year-old man was at the home with a 14-year-old boy and 10-year-old boy. They say the man then began playing "quick draw" with the boys, using his .22 caliber handgun, and accidentally fired a shot.

Officers were called after the 10-year-old showed up at an area hospital with a gunshot wound to the face. The child was grazed by a bullet and has since been treated and released.

Officers soon after arrested the man, and he was booked for aggravated battery and two counts of aggravated child endangerment.

Police say the boys aren't related to the man, but that he's friends with the 14-year-old boy's mother.

Police are investigating. Formal charges have not been filed.

Previous story - Sunday, January 12, 2014:

A Wichita man was arrested early Sunday morning after a gun he was showing to two children went off, hitting one of them in the face.

Officers were called to a home in the 5800 block of East Kinkaid around midnight after a 10-year-old went to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the face.

Sgt. John Hoofer said a 70-year-old man was showing two children a gun when it fired, hitting the victim, who has since been treated and released.

The other child, 14, was not hurt. The man was arrested for child endangerment.

Sgt. Hoofer did not comment on the type of gun involved or the details of what led up to the shooting.

The man's next door neighbors say they heard the gun go off.

"I vaguely heard an explosion noise or a boom and the dogs started barking really loud," Jordon Gretz said.

Gretz, like many of the neighbors, is a parent and gun owner herself.

"It's always in the back of my mind that it could happen," Gretz said. "But we always take the extra precautions."

Taking the proper precautions is what Don Holman teaches to the people who come into his Bullet Stop gun range in southwest Wichita.

He says people should always assume a gun is loaded until they are able to determine it is not.

"I think a lot of people have confidence in themselves and they're kind of in a mode to satisfy and in that mode we sometimes don't follow good operating procedures," Holman said.

One of those procedures is to only use a firearm in a safe location.

"Number one, I don't allow children or other people to handle firearms in a home. That's just a no no," Holman said. "All firearms should be locked up at all times. The showing of a firearm to young people should occur at a range."

He says that's in part because people sometimes forget to check their surroundings.

"Primarily, people forget where other people are," Holman said. "When you are handling firearms, you want to keep (people) to the back side of you until (the firearms) are proven safe."

He teaches these procedures and others as part of his "making a firearm safe" exercises.

Holman did a demonstration for KAKE News Sunday.

"To make a firearm safe: We are going to start with a revolver. Pick it up in the strong hand with the index finger being above the trigger system. We are going to grip it with our weak hand, open the cylinder, remove any cartridges and leave the cylinder up so that it can not fire in anyway," Holman said.

He says it's a similar process with a semi-automatic handgun.

"You pick it up with your strong hand, index finger up high, muzzle pointed in a safe direction, you remove the magazine understanding where ammunition is, you rack the slide to clear out the chambers to make sure there's no ammunition in there, then you would lock the slide back and inspect the chamber to make sure it is empty," Holman said.

He says it's also important to make sure there is "no ammunition in the area." In other words, don't have any ammunition lying near the gun. And, if you take ammunition out of the gun, make sure to put that away.

He says when it comes to households with children, it's especially important to have locks on the guns and to then put the guns in a locked box or safe.

While neighbors like Jordon Gretz say these are things they already do, they hope this accident is a wake up call for everyone to double-check how the firearms are stored around their homes.

"I'm definitely going to take extra precautions in making sure our guns are put up," Gretz said.

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