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Nevada man shifts in his theater seat, accidentally shoots himself

August 15, 2012|By John M. Glionna
  • A movie-goer in Sparks, Nev., accidentally shot himself in the buttocks.
A movie-goer in Sparks, Nev., accidentally shot himself in the buttocks. (Ken Lund / Wikimedia Commons )

Sometimes the town of Sparks, Nev., located just outside Reno in the state’s northern reaches, still seems like a Wild West holdout featuring the ghosts of all those shoot-'em-up cowboys.

Well, Sparks lived up to its old gun-slinging ways this week, but this time with a dash of Barney Fife panache straight out of Mayberry: a movie-goer accidentally shot himself in the buttocks the other night during a showing of the movie"The Bourne Legacy."

Police say a 56-year-old man, permitted to legally carry a concealed weapon, shifted in his seat and a handgun dropped from his pocket. The weapon hit the floor and discharged.

“It’s just plain weird,” Sparks Police Lt. Chad Hawkins told the Los Angeles Times. “We don’t know if the gun was in a holster or what.”

The tale gets even weirder.

“After wounding himself in an unknown portion of his buttocks,” Hawkins said, “he stood up, apologized to people in the audience and left.” Police said only five patrons in the crowd of 30 heard the gun go off. No one else was hurt.

Police located the man at a local hospital, where he was treated and released. He has been charged with discharging a firearm in public.

Though Hawkins and his colleagues can chuckle now, he says there was a moment that night when nobody smiled. A few other movie-goers called to report the incident. The first details were that eight or nine shots had been fired in the theater.

The incident came less than a month after a shooting at a suburban Denver theater that left 12 dead and 58 injured.

“You can imagine our response: 'Oh no!' But we got there only to find one shell casing on the floor,” Hawkins said.

Authorities said the case would be sent to the city attorney.

"At least he apologized," said one officer, who asked not to be named. "You have to give him credit for that."

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john.glionna@latimes.com

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