Officers pronounced him dead at the scene.
So when a tragedy like this happens, it's important to take a look at some of the way gun-related accidents can be avoided.
WFFT's Tara Petitt visited an expert in Roanoke to learn more about gun safety.
"People will often pick up a firearm or handgun and without thinking, flash that muzzle passed other people when they're just not thinking."
It's mistakes like this that can end like this. Rocky Stotts works at Hillside Shooting and has decades of gun training and experience under his belt.
He says nearly every accident involving firearms could be avoided by following four basic safety steps.
"Treat every gun as if it were loaded, never point the muzzle at anything you're not willing to destroy, keep your finer off the trigger until your sights are on the target, be sure of your target and what's beyond. It's that simple."
Stott says often times, people make mistakes when they are not properly trained on the way to handle a gun.
"Often times people forget how a pistol actually functions and instead of unloading the magazine first, for example, they'll retract the slide to the rear, ejecting the round from the chamber. All the slide to reciprocate forward, which automatically chambers another round but they're not thinking about that. Then they remove the magazine and in their mind, the pistol is unloaded, but obviously it's not. That's when an accident is going to happen."
Stott says the proper way to check if a gun is unloaded is to do the 5-step check.
First, remove the magazine, lay it aside, retract the slide to the rear, visually inspect the chamber, and physically check the chamber with your finger.
If you have children or strangers in your home, Stott recommends locking your weapons in a safe or gun vault, and always engage the trigger lock.
"You need to make sure that no unauthorized access can be gained with the weapon."
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