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TAYLORSVILLE — A man accidentally shot his teenage son Friday night at a Taylorsville shooting range.
Unified Police say the accident happened at Doug's Shoot N' Sports, 4926 S. Redwood Road, as a father and son were spending the night together practicing on the range.
Ken Brownlee was also spending the night at the firing range with his two sons. Out of the corner of his eye, Ken saw the accident happen next to him.
He screamed. He was in shock and panic, didn't know exactly what to do.
–Ken Brownlee, witness
"You heard the discharge of the firearm," Ken Brownlee said. "He screamed. He was in shock and panic, didn't know exactly what to do."
The teen's father was putting his loaded pistol into the case when it accidentally went off, shot through the case, and struck his 16-year-old son who was standing next to him.
"I didn't know what was going on at first, I heard a scream," said Bridger Brownlee, Ken's son.
The bullet hit the teen's pinkie finger first, then struck his abdomen.
"I went out with the young man to kind of keep him calm and conscious once he was on the floor," Ken Brownlee said.
The range's manager, Dave Larsen, said no employees patrol the range. Their customers are typically trained in weapons safety.
"(The) guy learned an easy lesson the hard way," Larsen said. "He became, I believe, a little complacent or a little mistaken in his practices, and his gun accidentally went off and hit his son."
(The) guy learned an easy lesson the hard way. He became, I believe, a little complacent or a little mistaken in his practices, and his gun accidentally went off and hit his son.
–Dave Larsen, range manager
The teen is expected to make a full recovery. Police say this is a good reminder for anyone operating a weapon.
"Practice as much handgun safety as (you) can when handling firearms or handguns," Taylorsville Police Sgt. John Cooper said. "Just treat every firearm as if it's always loaded."
Ken Brownlee said that's exactly the lesson he hopes his two boys learn from this. "It's scary," he said. "It's a real reality check."
Larson said the man called his wife on the phone and apologized profusely. He then was able to speak to his son in the hospital and did the same thing. It was an accident, and police say they don't plan to file any charges.