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Forum News Service, Published July 06 2013

Man falls asleep with gun, accidentally shoots himself

MITCHELL, S.D. – A man suffered minor injuries shortly after 2 a.m. Thursday when he fell asleep on his back porch with a loaded handgun and accidentally shot himself in the midsection, authorities said.

Mitchell police said the 34-year-old man was sitting alone in a lawn chair on the back porch of his residence when a family member turned on the porch light and opened a nearby door. Startled by the light and noise, the man woke up and unintentionally pulled the handgun’s trigger and shot himself.

The man suffered minor flesh wounds but was able to transport himself to Avera Queen of Peace Hospital, police said.

“Quite frankly, he was very fortunate,” police investigator Joel Reinesch said Friday.

The man told investigators he had just retrieved the handgun and several other items from his truck after a long day at work when he decided to sit down on his porch with a glass of water and a cigarette, and then dozed off, Reinesch said.

The man’s name was not being released because no criminal charges have been filed, Reinesch said. The Davison County State’s Attorney’s Office will determine whether to file charges once all the investigative reports have been finished.