Crime & Courts

Gun buyer wounded by accidental discharge in downtown Juneau

Juneau police were seeking criminal charges after an accidental shooting during a late-night gun deal left the buyer wounded by the weapon he hoped to purchase.

Officers were called to the downtown Wharf Building near Egan Drive and Main Street just after 11:15 p.m. Monday in response to a report of "a loud 'bang' and a male lying on the floor screaming," police said in a statement. The 19-year-old victim was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital with a gunshot wound in his leg.

Police said a 22-year-old man in the building had been trying to sell a handgun to the younger man. Police seized the weapon.

"The 19-year-old male said he was interested in purchasing the handgun and the two males examined the handgun, which was loaded," police wrote. "During the handling of the weapon, the firearm discharged, striking the 19-year-old in the leg."

Juneau police Lt. David Campbell said Wednesday that officers believed alcohol was involved in the incident. He said the victim was shot in "the meaty part of his thigh."

Campbell said a quartet of commonly accepted gun safety conventions could have prevented the shooting.

"The rules are: one, all guns are basically always loaded; two, don't point the gun at anything you don't want to shoot; three, make sure your finger's not on the trigger until you want to shoot; and four, you need to be aware of your target as well as the background," Campbell said. "In this case, obviously the gun was loaded, and the gun was pointed at the guy's leg, which they didn't want to shoot."

Charges under consideration in the incident include weapons misconduct as well as assault, Campbell said.

Chris Klint

Chris Klint is a former ADN reporter who covered breaking news.