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Police urge caution with guns after accidental shootings

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One man was taken to a hospital to have a bullet removed from his foot and another suffered a minor graze wound in two gun accidents over the weekend, police said.

Both accidents happened Saturday evening. In Greenwood, a man accidentally shot his friend in the foot while looking at a handgun during a child’s birthday party. Near Acton, another man was grazed by a bullet fragment that ricocheted off a target at a professional shooting range during a firearm training course.

The accidental shootings occurred just weeks after multiple houses in a Greenwood subdivision were pierced by bullets being fired from a rural home.

The recent accidents are a reminder that people need to be safe with guns, such as by making sure a gun is unloaded before cleaning it or making extra arrangements when target-shooting to ensure bullets are stopped.

“That’s why even when we shoot, we have to stress safety,” Sheriff Doug Cox said.

The man injured in the Greenwood shooting, Dustin Knauss, 24, was taken to Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis because the bullet was still lodged in his foot, according to a police report. He was released from the hospital later that night.

Knauss’ friend, Michael Nimz, 23, removed the magazine from the handgun while showing it off but forgot to remove the bullet from the chamber. Nimz pulled the trigger, striking Knauss in the top of his foot, according to a Greenwood Police Department report.

The accident occurred in a bedroom at Nimz’s house, 604 Park Drive, during a birthday party for a 3-year-old child about 6:45 p.m., the report said.

About two hours earlier, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to a shooting range located at 7731 E. County Road 1000N. Students taking a National Rifle Association pistol basic course were firing at hanging metal plates, when a bullet fragment bounced off a plate and grazed a student, Robert Sheipe, 67, Carmel, according to a report from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheipe closed the small cut with two bandages and declined medical treatment when an ambulance arrived.

The shooting range near Acton is run by Custom Cop Corp., which hosts firearm training courses. The range is a similar quality to the one at the sheriff’s office with a good backstop to stop bullets, so it’s typically very safe, Cox said. The metal targets students were firing at can shatter bullets, which is why the sheriff’s office stopped using those types of targets in its range in the past, he said.

“We used to shoot at steel plates, and it’s nice because you can hear when you hit it. But you don’t know where those bullets are going after it hits that steel target,” Cox said.

The accident is another reminder bullets can bounce or shatter unless they hit something solid to slow them down, such as a pile of dirt or sand, Cox said.

Police said bullets bounced more than a half-mile from a home on County Road 25W and hit three houses in nearby Southern Pines subdivision earlier this month.

Bullets that missed targets either bounced off the ground or sailed high into the air, striking three homes in the Greenwood subdivision. One of the rifle bullets pierced a child’s playroom, another went through a wall and file cabinet in a bedroom and a third shattered a window in a house during that incident.

No criminal charges were filed in that incident, but the property owner was given a ticket for violating the county’s firearm ordinance because bullets were leaving the property.

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