Loaded gun goes off in Soldotna coffee shop, injures woman

A man who unintentionally discharged a firearm inside a Soldotna coffee shop on Sunday injured a 75-year-old woman, according to a statement from Lt. Duane Kant of the Soldotna Police Department.

At 2:43 p.m. on Sunday, Soldotna police responded to a call regarding a firearm that had been discharged inside of a coffee shop. The incident took place at Kaladi Brothers Coffee on Kobuk Street in Soldotna.

According to statements from Kant and a witness who was there at the time of the incident, a group of people were sitting at a table and passing a gun around among themselves under the table. The owner of the gun, a 76-year-old Kenai man, had reportedly purchased it recently and was showing it to his friends.

While taking turns examining the gun, one person aimed it at the floor and pulled the trigger. Because the gun was loaded, it fired and impacted the metal base of the table. No one was struck directly by the bullet, but one woman was taken to Central Peninsula Hospital because of bullet fragments in her leg. She has since been treated for non-life-threatening injuries and discharged from the hospital, according to Kant.

Witnesses said that the gun owner believed that the gun was not loaded, and reportedly told police that it went off while it was in his holster. No criminal charges have been filed, and the investigation is still ongoing, but the incident did prompt discussion about firearm safety and responsible gun ownership.

“Obviously, we would like to see folks handling their firearms in a place other than a business that’s open for business.” Kant told Anchorage Daily News, which also reported on the incident.

Kant added that part of responsible gun ownership is handling all firearms as if they are always loaded. Management at Kaladi Brothers indicated they were unavailable for comment on the situation at this time.

Reach Brian Mazurek at bmazurek@peninsulaclarion.com.

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