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New Gun Owner Accidentally Shoots Elderly Neighbor

A Dana Point man was handling his new semi-automatic rifle when it went off, accidentally hitting a 63-year-old woman in the next apartment.

A 63-year-old Dana Point woman remained hospitalized today with a non-life-threatening head wound after being hit by a round accidentally discharged as a neighbor was handling a new weapon in an adjacent apartment.

The shooting occurred about 10 p.m. Tuesday in the 25000 block of Quail Run.

"He was handling a new weapon. He had just bought it," Orange County sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock said, adding the 53-year-old man "was on the up and up" with registration of the AR-15 and the way he obtained it.

The gun owner, whose name was withheld, apparently was "distracted" and did not realize the weapon was loaded while he was handling it, Hallock said.

After the gun went off, the man went over to check on his neighbor, the lieutenant said.

"He goes over and contacts the neighbor and says, 'Is everything OK?' They apparently didn't even know she was hit by the fragments from the bullet until he knocked on the door. She was not incapacitated or anything."

Sheriff's deputies took the gun to check it and make sure it was functioning properly and to verify the owner's version of what happened, Hallock said.

- City News Service  

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