THATCHER — For the fifth time this year and the third time in less than a month, a report surfaced of a person accidentally shooting himself.
Thatcher officers responded to a residence at 3096 W. Church St. at about 12:48 p.m. on Aug. 24 regarding a man who accidentally shot himself in the leg.
Less than a week prior, Safford officers responded to a residence at 1326 S. 9th Ave. at about 5 p.m. on Aug. 21 regarding a 24-year-old man who accidentally shot himself in the leg with a 9-mm pistol as he sat down. The man was treated and released from the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center.
In the Thatcher case, Derek Flake, 18, said he was attempting to unload a .32-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun belonging to his girlfriend’s sister when he cocked the hammer back and it went off. The bullet entered Flake’s thigh but did not exit. He was taken to the MGRMC by paramedics from Southwest Ambulance and was treated and released.
The National Rifle Association lists three fundamental rules for safe gun handling, including to always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction; always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, and always keep a gun unloaded until ready for use.
Prior to cleaning a gun, make absolutely sure that it is unloaded by physically looking down into the chamber to make sure it is clear. Even then, never point the weapon anywhere you do not want to shoot.
Firearms safety rules
• Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
• Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
• Always keep a gun unloaded until ready for use.
• Know your target and what is beyond.
• Know how to use the gun safely.
• Be sure the gun is safe to operate.
• Use only the correct ammunition.
• Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate.
• Never use alcohol, over-the-counter, prescription or other drugs before or while shooting.
• Store guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.
• Clean your gun every time it is used.
Source: National Rifle Association