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Accidental shooting victim undergoes leg amputation

Donation fund set up to retrofit Joseph Bingham's home

Posted: December 7, 2011 - 2:02pm  |  Updated: December 8, 2011 - 1:09am

The man who was accidently shot in the leg Saturday near a gun range on Montana Creek Road had his leg amputated as a result of the accident, according to a family member.

Boyce Bingham, the father of shooting victim Joseph “Joe” Bingham, 27, said doctors had already removed Joseph’s right leg below the knee. Wednesday, Joseph’s birthday, doctors removed the rest of the leg about six inches above the knee, Boyce said by phone.

Joseph was medevaced to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle Saturday after the accident. A Juneau Police Department investigation found that Joseph was driving a 2000 Chevy pickup truck on Montana Creek away from the Hank Harmon Rifle Range. A passenger in the vehicle attempted to unload a pistol when it discharged, striking Bingham.

JPD Sgt. Paul Hatch told the Empire Wednesday morning that the victim and shooter were family members. Boyce Bingham confirmed that the passenger who accidently shot Joseph was Joseph’s brother, Seth, 31.

“Basically it was a fun day at the range, but turning back, the weapon was being disassembled, and it accidently went off,” Boyce Bingham said. “It was a mistake, of course.”

Seth Bingham immediately reacted to the situation and made a tourniquet for his brother’s leg out of materials in the pickup truck. His father said without the tourniquet, Joseph could have bled out in a matter of minutes.

“Even though his brother shot him, it’s also his brother that saved his life,” Boyce Bingham said.

The brothers were driving on the roadway when the accident occurred, and JPD and Capital City Fire and Rescue personnel met with the vehicle near Floyd Dryden Middle School, and took Joseph Bingham by ambulance to Bartlett Regional Hospital. He was later flown to Harborview.

Seth was the one who informed his father of the accident, Boyce said.

“As you can imagine, it was horrible,” he said.

Both Bingham brothers have lived in Juneau for about 15 years, the father said. They are both avid hunters in the area, he said. He described Joseph as “a very active guy, snow machines, 4-wheelers.”

The family has set up an account with True North Credit Union which will be used to retrofit Joseph’s home in Juneau for his new disability. Donations should be submitted under the name “Joseph Bingham.” The family will also be hosting a dinner fundraiser and auction on Jan. 7, 2012 at the Juneau Moose Lodge to raise money to pay for Bingham’s prosthetic leg, which costs an estimated $50,000, they said. Tickets are $15 per person or $30 per family and can be purchased at Doug’s Auto Body (789-7620), Alaska Automotive Sales & Repair (364-3400), Capital Brew (586-6707), or by calling Nealea Foster at 957-0313. A 2011 Harley-Davidson Sportster will be raffled off. Tickets for the raffle are $50 each, and only 500 tickets are being sold.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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