Man shooting friend in back represents 2nd firearm-related injury in 2 days at Iron County range

CEDAR CITY — Authorities say a man accidentally shot his friend in the back while target shooting at the Iron County Shooting Range at the Three Peaks Recreation Area on Monday. The incident marked the second shooting-related injury at the range in as many days.

Iron County Shooting Range in the Three Peaks Recreation Area, Iron County, Utah, April 6, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Iron County Sheriff’s Lt. Del Schlosser said Monday’s incident occurred when a man was trying to load bullets into a .22 caliber revolver.

“He pulled the hammer back, which is what needs to be done in order to turn the cylinder so he could load it,” Schlosser said. “He went back too far but didn’t realize he’d  done that. So he let the hammer go forward, which discharged a round, and his friend who was in front of him was struck in the back.”

The injured man was subsequently taken to the hospital for treatment. Schlosser said he did not know the extent of the man’s injuries but said he is expected to recover. Both men are in their 30s, Schlosser said.

One day earlier at the range, Schlosser said, a woman shot herself in the hand. She had just finished target shooting with a handgun and was getting ready to put the weapon away when the incident happened, Schlosser said.

Iron County Shooting Range in the Three Peaks Recreation Area, Iron County, Utah, April 6, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“She was done shooting and was going to clean the gun and was in the process of getting ready to, when there was a live round still in the gun, which went off and struck her hand.”

The injured shooter, whose age was not reported, was also taken to the hospital for treatment, although her injuries were not believed to be serious.

Schlosser pointed out an element that the two incidents had in common is that those handling the guns did not treat the weapons as if they were loaded.

“If they had treated it as if it had been loaded, both of those incidents would not have occurred.”

Schlosser said that the basic rules of gun safety apply to everyone, regardless of age or level of experience. They include the following:

  • Treat every gun as if it were loaded and ready to fire.
  • Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction at all times, even when unloading and loading.
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
  • Never point a gun at anything you do not intend to destroy.
  • Make sure of your target and what’s beyond it.

“We’ve had some very close calls in that area with ricochets or somebody shooting at a box and not knowing that people are beyond that,” Schlosser added.

All shooting range users should familiarize themselves with the rules and regulations posted at the site. To report illegal, unsafe or suspicious activities or vandalism, contact the sheriff’s office at 435-867-7500. To contact Iron County Outdoor Recreation, call 435-586-5124.

This report is based on information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings. 

Ed. Note: The photos accompanying this article were taken for illustrative purposes on Tuesday and do not depict anyone involved in either of the incidents described.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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