Quick-draw champion hurt when holstered gun goes off

TENINO – A 53-year-old national quick-draw champion practicing at a Brittney Lane residence shot himself in the thigh Friday afternoon when the gun he was practicing with turned out to be loaded and did not contain blanks as he had thought.

The man was lucky he did not suffer life-threatening injuries, Thurston County Chief Criminal Deputy James Chamberlain said.

A .45-caliber bullet was lodged near the man’s knee, Chamberlain said.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office has completed its investigation and has ruled the shooting an accident, Chamberlain said. The man told deputies the gun was in its holster when it discharged, and a hole in the holster confirmed the man’s statement, Chamberlain said. A witness at the Brittney Lane residence also confirmed the man’s account, Chamberlain said.

“It’s not illegal to accidentally shoot yourself in the leg,” Chamberlain said.

The man was taken by ambulance to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia about 4:45 p.m. Friday. The man told deputies that he initially thought he had been struck by a blank. He normally uses blanks when practicing quick draws, Chamberlain said.

The bullet traveled down the man’s thigh and was lodged above his knee, Chamberlain added. The bullet struck no major arteries, he said.