Cass County Sheriff's Office urging caution after gun malfunction sends two to the hospital
CASS COUNTY, Mich. - After what the Cass County Sheriff's office is calling a "gun malfunction sent eight-year-old Jeremiah Craigo and 28-year-old David Williamson to the hospital Sunday, the office spoke out Monday to urge the public to follow proper gun safety measures, especially with hunting season in full swing.
"We get a lot of unsafe discharge complaints here where people are concerned because neighbors are shooting," said Captain Thomas Jacobs, the road patrol captain for the Cass County Sheriff's department. "It's important that you understand that you have to shoot safely."
Captain Jacobs said there are a handful of gun safety tips that make all the difference in gun safety. He said it's important to only point your weapon at something you are prepared to shoot at, only put your finger on the trigger when you are ready to fire, keep your weapon stored in a locked storage unit unloaded, know your weapon and the regulations that come with it and have a proper backstop behind your target. Captain Jacobs said following these tips could save lives.
"If you follow the proper guidelines for storing your weapon and keeping them safe, keeping them pointed in the right direction and having a good backstop, it reduces the chances of anything happening almost 100%," Jacobs said.
Jacobs said not knowing your weapon is what can lead to an incident like what sent the two people to the hospital on Sunday. The Sheriff's Office said the injuries resulted from the muzzle-loading hunting rifle exploding likely from "too much gun powder" being loaded into the weapon. Captain Jacobs said it's "possible" not knowing the proper way to handle the weapon led to the incident.
"Well, it certainly could be (the reason)," Jacobs said. "You have to know your weapon. You have to know what it will shoot safely. This was a muzzle loader. So, you actually pack the gun powder into the gun, and there's a certain amount of gun powder they say is safe, and you have to know what those regulations are."
With an eight-year-old being one of those injured in this incident. Captain Jacobs said there is not a recommended age for kids to become familiar with firearms.
"I think it's important that you educate your children on how to safely operate a weapon," Jacobs said. "I'm not going to give an estimate on what the age is. It depends on the maturity of the child."
The Cass County Sheriff's office said it does not believe any criminal proceedings will result from the gun malfunction Sunday. They said it is "more of a gun malfunction concern than a gun safety one." Both Craigo and Williamson are expected to recover from their injuries.