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Skycap injured in accidental shooting

   |  Posted Feb 25th, 2010 @ 5:10pm

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A skycap was accidentally hit in the foot by shrapnel from a gun that accidentally went off at the Salt Lake International Airport Thursday afternoon.

According to Dave Korzep, the airport's superintendent of operations, the incident happened at a skycap booth at Terminal 1 around noon. "A passenger was declaring his firearm for shipment and either dropped it or mishandled it, and we had an accidental discharge," Korzep said.

The bullet hit the pavement, and bullet fragments hit a skycap worker in the foot. Korzep says the skycap's injuries were minor.

"The skycap was treated at the scene by airport paramedics. He signed a release and was not transported to the hospital," he said.

Authorities responded immediately to the skycap station. They determined it was an accident.

Korzep says the traveler thought the Glock semi-automatic pistol was unloaded, but there was likely an extra round in the chamber. He says there is a certain procedure that must be followed when checking firearms at the airport.

"It has to be in a hardened, locked case and obviously the weapon should be cleared and the ammunition stored separately," he said. "In this case, the procedure was not followed correctly."

One witness said he heard the shot and immediately felt a few moments of fear and concern, saying a gunshot at the airport certainly grabs your attention.

"It got a little busy there for a minute, got a little sketchy but didn't affect airport operations that much," Korzep said. "Of course you had the police and fire response, but flights were not affected in any way."

Airport police and crime scene investigators taped off the area for about an hour while they gathered evidence. Korzep says the traveler who owns the firearm is being questioned by airport police. The city prosecutor will screen the case for potential charges.

Composed with contributions from Jed Boal and Randall Jeppesen.


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