Police say a loaded handgun in a Florida woman’s purse accidentally discharged when she dropped it in a St. Petersberg’s Starbucks on Saturday. The bullet from 51-year-old Pamela Beck’s gun struck her friend, 38-year-old Amie Peterson, above the knee. The wound was not serious and Peterson was released from the hospital late Saturday night.
Beck, who does not have a concealed weapons permit, told police that the gold-plated .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol had been given to her by her father a year ago, for protection, and that she had forgotten that she placed the gun in a spare purse. Before leaving for the Tyrone Square Mall in which the Starbucks was located, she switched purses to the spare one.
St. Petersburg Police spokesman Mike Puetz said that her purse “hit the ground hard” and the gun fired.
Starbucks, which has been criticized in the past for its refusal to ban armed customers, released this statement:
“At Starbucks, the safety and security of our partners who are our employees and customers is our top priority. We are aware of the accident that took place and are thankful that nobody was seriously injured.”
Police consider the shooting accidental, but have referred the case to the Pinellas County State Attorney’s Office because Beck lacked a concealed carry permit. Prosecutors are still deciding whether to press charges.
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Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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