A husband and wife pair was accidentally shot in a Tennessee church after discussing church shootings with members of their place of worship.
Elder members of the First United Methodist Church in Tellico Plains got together for a Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, during which they talked about the Nov. 5 massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 25 people and an unborn child were killed.
When someone asked if any of the guests had brought a gun to their church, an unidentified man in his Eighties told the group, “I carry my handgun everywhere,” according to a retelling of the incident by Tellico Plains Police Chief Russ Parks as reported by multiple local news outlets.
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“Somebody else walked up and said, ‘Can I see it?'” Parks said. “He pulled it back out and said, ‘With this loaded indicator, I can tell that it’s not loaded.’ ” The man pulled the trigger to prove it was not loaded but he “just forgot that he re-chambered the weapon,” Parks said.
After it went off, the gun owner hit himself in the hand and his wife – who is also in her Eighties – in the abdomen.
The couple was transported to University of Tennessee Medical Center by helicopter for non-life threatening injuries, according to Parks.
“Just want to let Everyone know that there was a shooting in town today. But it was not an active shooter situation. It was an accidentally discharged handgun,” the Tellico Plains Police Department said in a statement on Facebook. “No other people were harmed in this accident.”
Nearby schools were placed in a temporary lockdown for the students’ safety.