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Father accidentally shoots son in Cathedral City, police provide new details and tips for gun owners

Police have released new details about an accidental shooting that took place inside a Cathedral City home on Wednesday. 

Authorities say the father involved had just purchased a new gun and believed it was empty. 

“Apparently he was messing around with the gun, fiddling with it…and unbeknownst to him it was a loaded gun,” said Sgt. Brian Barkley, Cathedral City Police Dept. 

Police say the gun was pointed towards a bedroom wall when the father pulled the trigger – a bullet fired through the wall and struck his 14-year-old son. 

“Luckily, because it went through the wall, it lessened the velocity of the bullet so the impact wasn’t too bad,” said Sgt. Barkley. 

Police say the son was shot on the left side of his back – the bullet missed vital organs. He was taken to the hospital where the bullet was successfully removed. He is in “good health,” per a release from CCPD. 

“The father was obviously distraught about shooting his 14-year-old son. It was obvious from the beginning it was an accident…there was no ill-intent there was no argument,” said Sgt. Barkley. 

But police say incidents like these are completely preventable with proper training.  

“Go to a class…have an instructor that knows about firearms teach you how to manipulate that firearm, how to load it safely and unload it,” he said. 

Sgt. Barkley urges all valley gun-owners to keep guns in a secure location and know how to confidently handle the weapon safely. 

“Always point your gun in a safe direction, always treat a firearm as if it’s loaded. Know your target and beyond,” he said. 

Gun-safety – more important than ever as a record number of people have guns in their homes. Last month alone, Americans bought 1.7 million firearms – the third-highest November on record in more than two decades, according to Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting (SAAF). 

Sgt. Barkley added their department responds to multiple reports of unintentional shootings each year: a number the department hopes decreases with proper education.

CCPD Detectives assisted with the completion of the investigation on Wednesday. Based on the information and evidence collected, the father was not arrested at the scene. Once the investigation is complete it will be submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for review.  

Weapon Safety Rules from CCPD:

  • Treat all firearms as if they were loaded. 
  • Always beware of where a firearm is pointed. 
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot (shooting range)
  • Know how to properly operate your firearm. 
  • It is important to become thoroughly familiar with your firearm.
  • Know how to properly load and unload your firearm. 
  • Store your firearm safely and securely to prevent unauthorized use. 
  • Firearms and ammunition should be stored separately.
  • Use a California approved firearms safety device on the firearm, such as a trigger lock or cable lock, so it cannot be fired. 
  • Firearm should be stored in a California approved lock box or a gun safe.
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Madison Weil

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