SANDY, Utah – Two teens suffered minor injuries from bullet fragments Saturday after a patron at a gun show fired a pistol without realizing the firearm was loaded.
Sgt. Dean Carriger of the Sandy Police Department said the incident occurred around 2 p.m. during the Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy.
A man selling guns at the show had several on display that were secured with zip ties and believed to be unloaded. A prospective customer asked to remove the zip tie on a .45 caliber Colt 1911 handgun to get a better handle on the weapon as he examined it.
The man racked the weapon’s slide, noticing as he did there was a magazine in the gun. The man ejected the magazine but apparently did not realize he had already chambered a live round.
“As he continued his inspection of the gun he pointed it at the ground and pulled the trigger, discharging that live round,” Carriger said. “It struck the cement floor and ricocheted, striking a pillar that ultimately stopped the bullet.”
A nearby 17-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl were both injured by fragments that were sent airborne after the bullet hit the ground.
Both teens suffered only minor injuries and were treated and released at the scene. Carriger said they do not expect to file any charges in connection with the incident.
“This could have been a very tragic situation, as this was a very crowded show of about 1,000 people at the time, and we’re very fortunate that more serious injury didn’t occur,” he said.
Carriger said the incident is an important reminder to treat all guns as though they are loaded.
“The thing to take away from this situation is really gun safety,” he said. “You cannot, should not, ever assume that a firearm is unloaded. You should be physically checking that, and if possible and practical, have a second person verify that it is clear and unloaded before manipulating the gun.”