No charges to be filed in accidental Wentzville church shooting

| February 11, 2012

ST. CHARLES COUNTY • A man who owns the gun that went off and shot another man through the chest at a Wentzville church fundraiser last month will not face criminal charges, St. Charles County prosecuting attorney Jack Banas said Friday.

The incident happened just before 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 21 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, as the event was ending and people began cleaning up.

As the gun owner was getting up to leave, a .38-caliber Cobra Derringer, commonly known as a "pocket pistol," fell out of the man's coat pocket and fired as it hit the ground, Banas said. The man told police he didn't know the gun had fired because of noise in the room, including balloons being popped. He didn't realize the gun had fallen out of his pocket until a bystander found it and handed it back to him, Banas said.

The victim, 23, who was sitting at the next table, realized he had been shot and put his hand to his chest, but at first people at his table thought he was joking. By the time they realized he was hurt, the man with the gun was leaving, not knowing what had happened.

"He was extremely upset," Banas said of the man, 53, a truck driver from St. Louis County who said he carries the gun for protection. He told police he carried it with him that night because he was bringing money to the event, a fundraiser for a cancer patient.

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Category: Church Security

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