Three Hurt in Gun Range Accident
By Shoshana Walter
Published: Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 11:53 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 7:54 p.m.
LAKELAND | A Tampa man’s gun accidentally fired Saturday at a Lakeland gun range, wounding him and two others, authorities said.
Michael Patrick Thourot, 47, had just set down his Jennings
9mm handgun at the Saddle Creek Shooting Range when the gun went off, striking Thourot in the left hand, his wife Sherri, 46, in the left arm, and 29-year-old Gary Flynn in the shoulder and throat, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said.
The incident happened about 10:30 a.m. By Saturday evening, all three were in stable condition at Lakeland Regional Medical Center. Flynn was awake and talking after he had surgery.
“According to them, they set the gun down and it just went off and started spewing rounds,” Sgt. Ken Hall said Saturday at the scene.
The gun may have been altered
, leading to the malfunction. Hall said detectives will know more once they take the gun apart and inspect it.
Flynn, who is from Ireland, was at the range with a friend who lives in Davenport. The Thourots were visiting the range from Tampa.
Flynn was standing in the shooting stall next to the Thourots.
Detectives say the gun fired at least three times after Thourot set it down facing his wife, rather than downrange, which is considered a proper safety procedure. The gun began to spin, striking Flynn, who stood next to a bench a few feet away.
At least 16 others were using the range at the time. One person helped Michael Thourot to the bathroom to clean up his hand while Flynn lay on the ground, awaiting the arrival of EMS. No others were injured.
The range at 3716 Morgan Combee Road is owned by the county and frequently receives visitors from neighboring counties. Saturday afternoon, the range closed early.
The incident is still under investigation.