NEW MEMBER COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME.
Police Probe Shooting At Gun Show
By Jim Ritchie
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Monroeville police want to know who loaded a pistol that went off during a gun show at the Pittsburgh ExpoMart Saturday, hitting a bystander in the leg with a 9 mm round.
Walter Gladkowski, 65, of Monroeville, was taken to Mercy Hospital, Uptown, after he was hit in the shin about 11:30 a.m. while attending the Pennsylvania Gun Collectors Association show. A hospital spokesman said he was released after treatment.
"It appears as though one customer at a vendor's table was looking at a 9 mm pistol, and it fired," said Sgt. Larry Lyons, of the Monroeville Police Department. "It struck another customer that happened to be standing at another vendor's table."
Lyons said that while it appears to be an accident, police will continue investigating because they want to know who slipped the shell into the gun.
So does Richard Vensel, the gun club's president, who lives in Baldwin.
Vensel's upset that an innocent patron was hurt because somebody violated the most basic rule of a gun show: Don't load the guns.
Most firearms vendors are extremely careful about checking weapons before placing them on display, Vensel said.
Police want to know if the gun arrived at the show loaded or if someone -- either the vendor or a guest -- loaded it sometime during the show. The show opened at 8 a.m., more than three hours before the weapon fired.
The gun was displayed by Hannah's Gun Shop, of Tipton, Blair County, Lyons said. The shop owner could not be reached for comment Saturday.
The 64-year-old Monroeville man who was handling the gun when it fired has not been charged.
Vensel said the Hannah's Gun Shop representative was escorted from the ExpoMart following the incident, adding that the investigation will determine whether the vendor will be permitted to attend future shows.
Vendors sign forms pledging to abide by certain rules, which include not loading weapons, Vensel said.
Vensel presides over the 2,500-member association, which hosts six shows a year. About 3,000 people attended on Saturday, he said.
"It was an unfortunate incident," Vensel said. "We strive for safety education, to inform the public and those that are less familiar with the use of firearms the safe operation of firearms. We show some firearms used in the Civil War up until the present day, and you can purchase things there."
Vensel said he was told Gladkowski suffered a flesh wound to the lower leg.
The gun show continues today from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Others are scheduled for July, September and November at the ExpoMart.
The association hires a security firm and has medical personnel at the show.
"Our club has gone 57 years without an accidental discharge of a firearm," Vensel said. "We run a very tight and clean show."