What Wichita Falls Gun and Knife Show organizers are calling a careless mistake, left three in the hospital.
The accidental discharge of a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with bird shot happened just before 9 a.m. Saturday, minutes before the show at the MPEC was set to open.
Police say it was a vendor, who show organizers say was a veteran at the gun shows and a Wichita Falls local.
The bird shot struck the hands, arms and neck areas of three MPEC employees working in the concessions area.
“This is the first I’ve head of it,” said Officer Timothy Johnson with Wichita Falls Police Department. “The first I’ve seen something like this happen at a gun show.”
The Gun and Knife Show has been in Wichita Falls for 36 years. Gun Show Publicity Chair, Joe Tom White, tells us the show had been at the MPEC for 16 years and he’s never seen an accidental discharge.
“Guns don’t accidently discharge, people accidently pull the trigger,” said White. “A gun’s never hurt anyone, never. People with a gun have. I guess if you had a loaded gun and threw it down, it might go off or something, that might be possible. It’s carelessness, and I can’t judge because this man is going to be judged. I would judge it was carelessness on his part to bring a loaded gun in here when it’s not allowed.”
White said for years they have taken pride in that. He just hopes this doesn’t put a stop to the Gun and Knife shows all together, especially because he said this not only brings education to gun owners and potential buyers, but also because it has a great economic impact.
“I would hate it,” White said. “We’ve been doing it 36 years in Wichita Falls. Tremendous impact on the econonics in this city. The Chamber of Commerce will tell you. All the sales tax, it’s guys from all over the United States, the sales tax stays here five times a year.”
Goodness, all that talk, and not one word about the three people who were shot. I guess they don’t matter as much as sales tax. At least one of the people shot isn’t overly impressed:
Police said three employees suffered non-life-threatening injuries and the gun show reopened Sunday morning as usual — but one of the victims said her life will never be the same.
“My whole life at this moment, has been taken away from me,” said Dede King, who has worked the show for 14 years. “My health will never be the same.”
King said she saw her co-worker lying on the ground, bleeding badly, after hearing a gunshot.
“I couldn’t tell if he was dead or alive,” King said. “All of a sudden I couldn’t get to him. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move — and I realize I had been shot. I heard someone say she’s bleeding from the neck.”
King and her family are unhappy with the gun show’s organizers, who said all the victims were fine — although she was fighting for her life and is unable to return to her full-time job at the Allred Prison Medical Department.
The show’s organizers haven’t even called to check up on her, relatives said.
How very unsurprising. Those gun shows, so gosh darn safe, you betcha: