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New Mexico gun store customer is accidentally shot in the back

November 21, 2012|John M. Glionna

Police say shootings aren't supposed to happen in Silver City, a town of just 10,000 residents in isolated southwestern New Mexico.

Especially not in a gun store.

But that’s a case investigators have on their hands after an employee at a popular gun shop who was unloading a .45-caliber handgun accidentally shot and wounded a customer in the back.

The 65-year-old customer, who police did not identify, was airlifted from Silver City to an El Paso hospital after the shooting Tuesday. The man was listed in good condition on Wednesday, police Capt. Steve Reese told the Los Angeles Times.

“We don’t expect foul play at this point,” Reese said. “The employee has not been charged at this point. I don’t know whether he still has his job.”

He said the report over the shooting at Copper Country Sporting Arms has been handed over to prosecutors who will make a decision on whether any charges should be filed.

The store is listed on Silver City's tourism website as a shop that sells guns, ammunition, bows, archery supplies and related sporting goods. Reese said the customer was looking at some items on a store rack when the weapon went off. The bullet struck him in the upper back.

“In my 34 years of police work, I have never seen anyone shot in a gun store," Reese said. “It does not happen every day, that’s for sure.”

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