On January 24, 2012 I posted an article about an incident in Wentzville, MO where a man was shot in the back while cleaning up for a fundraiser.
While volunteers were popping balloons, a man fell over with a gunshot wound to the back with an exit wound to the chest.
According to the website StLToday.com
“The shooting occurred about 11:20 p.m. as the truck driver and victim were helping to clean up after the fundraiser. The gun, a Cobra Derringer, was in the truck driver’s coat pocket. The man picked up his coat as he prepared to leave the church. The gun fell out of his pocket, hit the floor and fired. The bullet struck the victim, seated at the next table, in the back and exited through his chest.
At the same time, several people were popping balloons, Banas said. One witness said she thought she heard a gun shot, but all other witnesses thought the sound came from balloons popping, Banas said.
A woman found the gun on the floor and gave it to the owner as he was leaving, Banas said. He said the gun owner was unaware that the gun had fired or that anyone had been injured, but the next morning, he saw news reports that someone was shot at the fundraiser. He checked his gun and discovered an empty shell. The man went to the Wentzville police station, surrendered his weapon and gave a statement.”
Aside from a warning to make sure any “pocket carry” gun is carried in a pocket holster, another lesson from this article is it is never known who is carrying a firearm into your church. While the case has been deemed accidental, and no charges are pending against the truck driver, it is still a tragic case that should not have happened.
What would you have done in a situation like this? Personally, I like to use a visualization technique called “When-Then” thinking. I simply close my eyes and try to visualize what could have been happening.
I imagine the chaos. Quite possibly I envision the “accidental shooter” standing there in shock holding his firearm. I envision myself making the scene safe and directing one specific person to call 911.
Is this someone I know? Do I need to disarm the person? Is it a case where I place my hand on his shoulder and the other hand on his gun while I tell him what I’m doing? Should I draw my weapon (if armed) and confront him?
Do I have the proper medical supplies to help stop the bleeding? What if the wound is a sucking chest wound, what should I do? Do I know how to control bleeding from a head wound or a chest wound?
Visualization and making a checklist of things you might need, but do not have, can help you save a life when seconds count.
Thankfully, the victim in this case survived his wounds and is now home recovering. However, this is a case that proves again that anything can happen, even at church.