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Local man, 18, survives accidental shooting

Police say investigation is still ongoing, but no foul play suspected

Posted: August 22, 2013 - 12:09pm  |  Updated: August 22, 2013 - 11:09pm

Police say an 18-year-old Juneau man accidentally shot himself in the abdomen Wednesday night as he was cleaning his gun, but that he is likely to survive.

“It looks like he’s going to live,” Lt. David Campbell, a spokesman for the Juneau Police Department, said.

The man, whose identity was not released, was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital and is currently listed in stable condition, a hospital spokesman confirmed Thursday morning.

Medics responded to the man’s house in the 9000 block of Cove View Place, located near Lena Cove, after receiving his 911 call at about 10:30 p.m.

The man said he was cleaning a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol that he had just received earlier that day when it discharged. The bullet entered through his abdomen and exited near his left hip, Campbell said.

The man claimed he did not pull the trigger, but that the gun discharged as he released its slide, Campbell said. Although that’s not a common scenario, he said, it’s still possible.

Police said there was no indication the man intended to harm himself, or of foul play in the home. Another family member, a 59-year-old man, was in the house at the time, and Campbell said the elder man helped the younger one by trying to contact both police and the hospital. Police said alcohol did not appear to be a factor.

Police are withholding the make and model of the gun as they continue their investigation. Campbell did note the gun was not purchased at a gun store; the man had traded his rifle for it. Gun stores require people to be 21 years of age to purchase firearms.

Police are still investigating whether a crime has been committed. Campbell said police are looking into whether discharging a weapon in an unsafe manner can amount to a weapons misconduct charge.

“It’s something we have to look into just to be thorough,” he said.

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

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