Three people were injured on Saturday after a 12-gauge shotgun went off while being checked at a North Carolina gun show.
Authorities said at a Saturday afternoon press conference that the shotgun was being unzipped from its case at the security entrance to the Dixie Gun and Knife Show in Raleigh, North Carolina, when a round of birdshot pellets discharged, hitting three people.
The gun owner, who allegedly intended to sell the weapon at the show, was interviewed by police on Saturday afternoon, though there was no decision whether he would face charges.
“I want to emphasize that this was an accident,” said Joel Keith, public safety and security chief for the state Department of Agriculture.
One of the victims, a retired Wake County sheriff’s deputy, was treated and released. The other two victims — 54-year-old Janet Hoover, who was shot in the hand, and 50-year-old Linwood Hester, who was hit in the right torso — were hospitalized.
The show was shut down after the incident. Before closing, however, one attendee told The Raw Story he saw “ten times” the normal amount of people in attendance. Prices were also reportedly higher than normal: 30-round magazines, which normally sell for $12, were being listed at $30 by some sellers; and an AR-15 “Bushmaster” assault weapon, usually priced around $1,200 at the event, was being sold for $2,600.
Keith said that while the event will reopen on Sunday, no private gun sales will be allowed.
Update: Two more accidental shooting injuries have been reported at gun shows as part of “Gun Appreciation Day” Saturday.
According to WISH-TV, a man shot himself in the hand while loading his semi-automatic pistol outside an event in Indianapolis, Indiana.
And WEWS-TV reported that a vendor at a show in Medina, Ohio shot himself while handling a loaded gun. He was taken to a local hospital. His condition has not been reported.
Additional reporting by David Edwards
[Image by Max Earey via Shutterstock]