Public Safety

West Liberty man accidentally shoots himself outside gun show

DAVENPORT — A West Liberty man suffered serious, potentially life-threatening injuries after accidentally shooting himself outside a Davenport gun show Sunday.

The unidentified 42-year-old “had a negligent discharge of his personal firearm while seated in his vehicle,” police wrote in an email Monday, saying the investigation into the incident is preliminary.

The shooting happened in the parking lot of the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds, which was hosting the Big Bore Gun Show from Friday until Sunday at 3 p.m.

Police were called to the fairgrounds at 1:36 p.m. Sunday.

“The subject sustained a serious and potentially life-threatening injury,” police Maj. Jeff Bladel wrote. “Initial treatment was provided on scene, and he was transported to Genesis East Hospital for further treatment. No other injuries or damage was reported.”

Shawn Loter, fairgrounds general manager, said he had just left for the day Sunday when he got a call about the shooting.

“It’s a freak accident,” he said Monday. “I’m glad no one else got hurt. He went to his truck, loaded the gun and put it in the holster, and it went off.

“There were people around him. He was, like, ‘I just shot myself,’ and people helped him out. He was holding his side.”

Loaded weapons are not permitted on fairgrounds property or inside the gun show, Loter said.

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“Folks bring guns to sell, and they are checked when they are brought in and when they leave,” he said. “They’re not supposed to be loaded, going in or coming out. The only ones who have loaded guns in there are the cops.”

Asked whether he would pursue action against the injured man for violating the fairgrounds’ rules that ban guns, Loter said he isn’t sure.

“That’s something I have to look into,” he said. “It just happened yesterday. But that’s my rule — no loaded guns on the grounds, unless you’re a cop.”

While police said the man’s injuries were serious, Loter said he was updated Monday morning and got a much better report.

“He lucked out; didn’t hit any organs,” he said. “They got the bullet out. He was very lucky.”

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