Safety instructor accidentally fires gun inside school

SPD logo-1             A 76-year-old gun safety instructor from Cottage Grove accidentally discharged a gun while teaching a gun-safety class at Salem Lutheran School last Thursday night.

No one in the class of eight students and parents was hurt in the incident and the man was very apologetic to staff when arriving at a Friday morning meeting in the principal’s office.

Salem Lutheran Principal Seth Zimmerman said gun-safety have been taught at the school for at least 14 years through the DNR and this is the first time an incident like this has occurred.

A Stillwater Police Departmet report said the bullet ended up in the north wall of what Zimmermann calls the fellowship hall. The firearm, a Colt 1911, discharged during a demonstration of various safeties to one of the students after the instructor was asked about the gun being partially cocked.

During the demonstration, the instructor told officers said he kept the muzzle of the gun aimed toward the back wall the whole time, according to the report. The instructor’s statement was later corroborated by the student who had asked about the gun.

“It was very unfortunate that it happened, but nobody was in danger and nobody was hurt which is a blessing. Other than that I’m leaving it up to the local officials to take it from here.” Zimmermann said.

According to the police report, the instructor apologized to school staff, police and DNR personnel for the: “foolish mistake I made last night. You gentlemen can’t imagine the embarrassment I feel towards myself for what took place, I am completely sorry for the incident that took place.” The instructor added that he assumed that gun was not loaded.

Reports said despite the instructor’s belief that the gun firing was accidental, he could face possible charges for the gun discharge and the incident has been forwarded to the city attorney’s office.

The report added that the instructor said he understood and expected to be charged with whatever was appropriate. The report added that the instructor said he would take full financial responsibility for any repairs to the fellowship hall wall.

Contact Avery Cropp at [email protected]