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This is wierd - NIB rifle was loaded, fires...

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Preacherman, Nov 22, 2003.

  1. Preacherman

    Preacherman Well-Known Member

    From the Cincinnati Advertiser, 11/21/03 (http://www.cincypost.com/2003/11/21/newgun112103.html):

    Rifle fires unexpectedly; dad shot
    By Shelly Whitehead
    Post staff reporter

    Investigators are still trying to piece together how Austin Woosley's prized 17th birthday gift -- a newly purchased and presumably unloaded rifle -- fired a bullet into his dad's leg as the two drove home from a Florence sporting goods store.

    Mike Woosley, a 43-year-old corporate jet inspector, lost control of the car when the bullet slammed into his thigh that afternoon. Seconds later, he and his son were waist-deep in water after their family van careened off Big Bone Road and landed in a Union farm pond.

    How the bullet that hit Mike Woosley got into the chamber of a brand-new gun still in the box is a question that is baffling police, the gun manufacturer and the Woosleys.

    Today as the Woosleys retell their Oct. 14 experience, they seem astonished by their relative good fortune. Though Mike Woosley will soon have surgery to remove six bullet fragments from his right thigh, and the family's van is a total loss, the two are thankful things are not much worse.

    "He could have shot himself," Mike Woosley said, glancing at his son in the Woosley's Union home.

    The words strike a painful chord with his son.

    "That's what really is on my mind. What if it hit him in the head? What if it had hit Mycah?" Austin asks, referring to his 5-year-old sister, who had begged to go along that day.

    Questions like those make ballistic test results on the Marlin .17-caliber rifle all the more important to the Woosleys. Still, tests on the weapon at the Kentucky State Police Central Lab in Frankfort can only determine whether the firearm works properly.

    Boone County Sheriff's Department investigators are now calling the shooting an "accident." But when deputies first arrived at the scene that Tuesday, they didn't know whether the shooting was accidental, intentional or self-inflicted.

    Both father and son tell a story of a freak accident that everyone from federal firearms agents, state ballistics experts and Boone County investigators say they have never heard even alleged before.

    Two days before the shooting, Mike Woosley bought a Savage .17-caliber rifle for his son's December birthday. Austin, however, changed his mind, opting to exchange the Savage for the more expensive Marlin.

    The two said when they went to exchange rifles at Dick's Sporting Goods in Florence Oct. 14, the store was filled with customers. But after completing the mandatory background checks and firearms license paperwork, the Woosleys said the clerk brought the boxed $240 Marlin "varmint" rifle from the stock room.

    Mike Woosley said no one opened the box to check the serial number on the gun before the purchase was completed and the clerk walked the boxed gun out the business' door, as required. Representatives of Dick's Sporting Goods did not return calls to answer questions about the incident -- whether the gun had been a returned item or whether employees are required to check serial numbers on the gun itself, rather than merely the gun box.

    As the Woosleys headed home, Mike thought their only challenge was going to be telling his wife about the birthday purchase for his son. Father and son made a plan to tuck the purchase away until Austin's birthday, allowing some time to break the news to mom.

    Austin "wanted to see the gun one more time since Mom didn't know we'd bought it," said Mike.

    "So he reaches between the seats and puts the box in his lap and opens it up. I said, 'That's a beautiful gun.' -- Then I saw he put his hand in there and it went off. -- It hit in my right thigh. The bullet hit the bone and it was going so fast it went to pieces."

    After swerving to avoid a tree and an oncoming truck, the minivan sped across a field and into a farm pond at the intersection of Big Bone Road and Rice Pike. It was only then that Mike realized he'd been shot.

    Austin recalls his dad's deep moans and his own panic as the van filled with water. But the soft-spoken, home-schooled teen-ager regained enough composure to find the cell phone and call for help.

    "Austin got the cell phone and called 911. You were screaming," Mike said, smiling at his worried-looking son.

    "He said, 'I shot my dad! I shot my dad!' He was screaming to them. -- I was gushing blood, just like a stream of water coming out when the cops came. -- And they took him away and separated us at the scene."

    Today Austin admits he wanted to touch the gun that day, but he has no recollection of touching the trigger. Neither Mike nor Austin say they had any idea there was ammunition in the rifle, as they now allege.

    Boone County Sheriff's Department Crime Bureau Commander Maj. Jack Banks said an unopened box of ammunition was found in the van. Investigators say there were no rounds in the rifle and no casings were found.

    "We sent it (the rifle) to the lab to determine if it's in working order," Banks said. "As far as knowing whether the bullet was in the weapon when it was purchased, I don' t know whether we'll ever be able to determine that.

    "We have victims alleging a round was in the weapon. -- When you're talking ballistics (tests) -- they couldn't link that specific round to that specific gun. -- There's no way to do that. -- There's no rifling."

    Kentucky State Police say ballistics testing on the firearms at their central lab will likely take months due to the lab's considerable case backlog from across the state. And even when complete, such lab tests can only provide very specific information, largely concerning the functioning of the weapon.

    "They'll run the gun through the paces -- to make sure it's operating properly," said Kentucky State Police Sgt. Phil Crumpton.

    "According to the lab person, this is the first case they've heard of -- saying something was left in (a new gun's) chamber."

    Many other investigators and weapons experts agreed the case was a first -- investigating whether an unopened boxed gun was sold with a live round in the chamber. Boone County Sheriff's Department detectives, veteran Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents, and even an executive with the company that manufactured the rifle in question said they had never heard of a similar incident.

    "To my knowledge, a loaded gun never left here," said Tony Aeschliman, marketing manager for Marlin Firearms Co. in North Haven, Conn.

    "They (newly manufactured guns) get fired -- proof-fired and function-fired -- before they leave the building. But there are several steps after that where rods are run down the barrel of the gun to make sure they aren't loaded. --

    "It's virtually impossible for a gun to get out of here with anything in it. -- Also, because he took the carton from the store without opening it (and) -- they're not hermetically sealed, anyone could have handled it before that."

    Aeschliman said Dick's Sporting Goods stores receive Marlin Firearms Co. merchandise directly from the factory, with no intermediary stops or distributors along the way.
  2. tcdrennen

    tcdrennen Well-Known Member

    However the round got in the rifle (and no case found? Ooooh, I didn't know .17 WMR was a caseless round :rolleyes: ) somebody put their finger(s) in the trigger quard while the gun was pointed in an unsafe direction. Duh.

    And handling a weapon in a moving vehicle? Dunno about Ohio, but in CA that's a violation of about 3 laws right there - conviction on any of which will result in at least a 10 year ban on possession of firerams period. If they go for felony (and in the PRK such laws are sometimes "wobblers" charged as felonies and MAYBE misdemeanors after sentencing.)

    Dad needs a serious refresher on firearms safety - and sonny needs some serious sanctions 'til he gets his head straight.

    And that's assuming (hard as it might be to believe) that no-one is lying through their teeth.

    Idiots. Just what we need; more ammo for the Brady bliss ninnies. :cuss: :banghead: :fire:
  3. DragonRider

    DragonRider Well-Known Member

    Yet another reason to always check to make sure the gun is unloaded, also, who here would bye a rifle unseen if you had the chance to look at it first to see if their was a problem with it?:confused:
  4. possenti

    possenti Well-Known Member

    "...van careened off Big Bone Road and landed in a Union farm pond. "

    Holy crap! That's only about 10 miles from me! I haven't heard this story around my neck of the woods yet - but I'm sure I will. (BTW - stop snickering about the name of the road mentioned above - It's not what you think.)

    My guess would be someone at Dick's sporting goods was screwing around with the rifle, even though the box appeared to be unopened. I buy some of my paintball supplies at Dick's, but the guns and accesories selection doesn't do much for me.
  5. HABU

    HABU Well-Known Member

    Not opnly did the rifle load its self, but it fired its self too!:rolleyes:
  6. DMK

    DMK Well-Known Member

    Show of hands, who here takes possesion of a firearm without checking to see if it's unloaded first?

    It took three idiots for this to happen: The salesperson at the gunstore, the father and the son. :rolleyes:
  7. Mark Tyson

    Mark Tyson Well-Known Member

    I get the feeling someone is lying here.
  8. WonderNine

    WonderNine member

    Me too.
  9. cordex

    cordex Well-Known Member

    How do we treat all assembled firearms?

    As if they were loaded.
  10. zahc

    zahc Well-Known Member

    What about ballistic fingerprinting?:confused:

  11. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Excuse the cynicism but frankly .. this does not all add up into a neat and perfect package.:rolleyes:

    That aside ... please everyone (not so much here but ''out there'' ).........


    Gun is loaded ......

    Boxed new, boxed used, out of box, just been cleared by someone else ..... it is loaded.:cuss:

    Hell of a narrow escape... and for that I am relieved but still ... somethin don't quite add up - yet.
  12. Sven

    Sven Senior Member

    4 rules.
  13. Betty

    Betty Well-Known Member

    "Don't meddle with old unloaded firearms. They are the most deadly and unerring things that have ever been created by man. You don't have to take any pains at all with them; you don't have to have a rest, you don't have to have any sights on the gun, you don't have to take aim, even. No, you just pick out a relative and bang away, and you are sure to get him. A youth who can't hit a cathedral at thirty yards with a Gatling gun in three-quarters of an hour, can take up an old empty musket and bag his mother every time at a hundred. Think what Waterloo would have been if one of the armies had been boys armed with old rusty muskets supposed not to be loaded, and the other army had been composed of their female relations. The very thought of it makes me shudder."

    Mark Twain - Advice to Youth speech, 4/15/1882
  14. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Now that's one heckuva Mark Twain speech. Samuel Clemens served in some Arkansas regiment early in the Civil War and when he found it short on glory and long on hardship, he high-tailed it out by taking French Leave. For the literary world, that was a blessing.
  15. ninenot

    ninenot Well-Known Member

    Hot damn, Betty---Mark Twain is funny.

    Did you ever see his speech to the girls' school? Equially a stitch.

    "Don't DRINK!" .........."that is, to excess..."
  16. joe4702

    joe4702 Well-Known Member

    Wanna bet these folks file a fat lawsuit against Marlin and the gun store?
    In the end, this is the kids fault for pointing the gun at his father and pulling the trigger. How it got loaded is another issue. Story didn't say if they bought a box of ammo to go along with the new gun. Maybe junior decided to chamber a round in his new toy to check the action.
  17. Bill Hook

    Bill Hook member

    These folks were very stupid, if nothing else. Why do you need to handle the gun before getting home? :rolleyes:
  18. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

    I am sorry, there is only one person to blame. 17 year old Austin Woosley broke all of the four rules. If everyone followed the four rules they could ship mew firearms in condition one. It's not the factory's fault, it's not the FFL dealer's fault. It's not the fault of whoever put the round in the chamber. Austin Woosley should stand up and take all responsibility.

    He shows some promise with this:
    I'd feel better if he'd replace the word it with I....then I'd know he's figured it out.

  19. mete

    mete Well-Known Member

    It has happened before that a gun was left loaded from test firing at the factory. However that is no excuse for unsafe gun handling .Never assume that a gun is unloaded and never point it at something you don't want to shoot.
  20. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Well-Known Member

    I think it is very likely the father and son are lying here. Neither sounds like they knew what they were doing. I bet junior loaded the gun in the car, and accidentally shot daddy.

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