A Spotsylvania County man inadvertently shot and killed himself Sunday in the parking lot of a Giant food store where he and his family had gone to return a movie, authorities said.
The 45-year-old man apparently reached down to buckle or remove his seatbelt and inadvertently pulled the trigger on a Glock 40-caliber handgun he was carrying, said Capt. Elizabeth Scott, the public information officer for the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office.
The weapon fired a round into his hip, delivering what would prove to be a fatal wound, Scott said.
“He’s undergoing an autopsy right now, but ... it obviously hit a major artery,” Scott said.
The man had gone to the Giant store, in a shopping center at the intersection of Plank Road and Harrison Road, about 4:45 p.m. Sunday to return a movie to a Redbox kiosk, Scott said. She said his wife got out of the van to drop off the movie, but at least two children were inside when the round was fired.
The man’s wife told officers she heard what sounded like a pop, then heard her husband say, “I just shot myself,” Scott said. Bystanders and an officer tried to apply pressure to the wound as the man lost blood, but their efforts were futile.
The man was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital, Scott said.
Scott declined to release the man’s name, saying the sheriff’s office policy is not to identify victims of self-inflicted gunshot wounds. She said while the investigation is still ongoing, “there is no indication whatsoever there is foul play.”
Scott said it remains unclear whether the weapon was holstered or in the man’s pocket during the incident, or whether it was a legally owned gun. When officers arrived, she said, it was on the floor of the van.
Scott said the incident should serve as a reminder to gun owners to properly holster their weapons.
“If you’re going to be carrying a weapon, know your weapon and know that it should always be in a holster,” she said. “A good holster, you’re not going to be able to accidentally hit the trigger.”
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