Two accidentally shot in church while discussing church shootings

Guns on a table. Photo courtesy of Rod Waddington via Flickr.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (USA Today) — A man accidentally shot himself and his wife at an east Tennessee church while he was showing off his gun during a discussion on recent church shootings, police said.

RELATED: Could it happen here? How churches are preparing for a mass shooting

Elder members of First United Methodist Church in Tellico Plains were cleaning up about 1 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 16) after enjoying a luncheon held to celebrate Thanksgiving. They began talking about guns in churches, according to Tellico Plains Police Chief Russ Parks.

A man in his 80s pulled out a .380-caliber Ruger handgun and said, “I carry my handgun everywhere,” according to Parks.

The man removed the magazine, cleared the chamber and showed the gun to some of the other men in the church. He put the magazine back in, apparently loaded a round in the chamber and returned the gun to its holster, Parks said.

“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.

“Evidently he just forgot that he re-chambered the weapon,” Parks said.

The gun was lying on its side on a table. The bullet sliced the palm of the man’s upward-facing hand, then entered the left side of his wife’s abdomen and exited the right side, Parks said.

Both the husband and wife, who is also in her 80s, were flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center with injuries that police said didn’t appear to be life-threatening. Their names had not been released as of Thursday evening.

Charges will not be filed, Parks said.

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Travis Dorman


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  • If I was a religious person I might see this as a sign from god to stop worshipping guns. But since I’m not it is clearly an indication of the state of mental illness Christianity has devolved into.

  • No one who has likely senilely forgotten that he re-chambered his weapon seconds before should have access to guns. For that matter, no one who treats a gun as unloaded and fires it as proof should have access to guns. Even if you think a weapon is unloaded, you should always treat it as loaded.

  • When ever Believers are satirized in the media, things like skits on S.N.L. etc. Many times sadly it’s
    self-inflicted. Yes; pun intended.

  • This makes me think about that photo of Roy Moore on stage with his pistol. If I were in that room, I would have reflexively ducked for cover.

  • Ugh…Right out of the self-parody of conservative religion…God, Guns, Gays…

    This time the gun backfired, a good guy and his wife went down…The bad guys are not impressed.

  • I prefer apostate.
    I had a mental illness when I was younger. I sought help from a medical professional and worked it out. It took time, patience and some medication but I’m much better now. And guess what! I didn’t tell LGBTQ people they were going to hell. See what you call love, most people call abuse. Tell me, do you carry a gun to church? Does it make you feel powerful? Do you feel safer?

  • I just repeat what Christ has said in an effort to protect them from where they are putting themselves, SarahJ. If one does not admit that they are making an error which will ruin their eternity, they need to be told and that, my friend, is love.

  • Actually, if that is how you see Christ’s word, I would suggest that the problem is moreso yours than anyone else’s.

    2 Timothy 4 – English Standard Version

    1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

  • No that is absolutely not how I see Jesus. I see Jesus the same way I see Harry Potter or Bilbo Baggins. Fictional character. The difference is that neither Harry nor Bilbo were created to destroy conquered cultures.
    Don’t worry I’m not going to use quotes from your fantasy against you. Fortunately the world is waking up from the delusion created by the morality police of the Roman Empire. And spread by the tip of the sword and barrel of a gun.
    It must be galling to see the waning of your dominant system of control. It must be horrifying that as the years pass the orthodoxy is failing and more and more people are learning to embrace diversity. It must be truly mystifying that even denominations of one of the most selfish religions on earth are embracing people who don’t fit into the narrow requirements for ascension to a fictional afterlife.

  • I’m pretty sure god and guns are one in the same in the Southern Baptist convention.
    The holy trinity of that particular cult are guns, money, and sexual indiscretion. But only the saved white people are allowed those.