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Georgia Prosecutor Shoots Himself Inside Courthouse

According to news reports, a Georgia Prosecutor unintentionally shot himself in the upper leg. The incident presents us with three major lessons. Here is what happened.

photo of sig p320 in holster

Unintended Discharge in a Georgia Courthouse —

Earlier this month, a Georgia Assistant District Attorney (ADA) was inside the courthouse speaking to a colleague. As the two talked about guns, the colleague mentioned he was interested in purchasing a Sig Sauer P320. The P320 is a sub-compact, semi-automatic handgun popular for concealed carry. The prosecutor carries the Sig P320 as his everyday carry (EDC) gun. When the colleague asked to see it, the ADA removed the gun from the holster.

According to the Ledger Enquirer, Effingham County Sheriff's say they believe that when the prosecutor removed the Sig P320 from the holster, the trigger “got caught” on his shirt's button, causing the gun to fire a single round.

The round struck the prosecutor in the upper leg. The ADA said to his friend, “I just shot myself.”

Because the incident happened at around 4:30 PM, there were still other people working in the courthouse. Another employee in the building heard the gunshot and came to see what happened. When he arrived, he offered to call 911, but the ADA who shot himself advised against it.

Someone on the scene called 911, anyway. It's a good thing to because it was around that time that the ADA's skin turned a “greyish hue” and he “began grunting and drooling.” Then the ADA collapsed.

Emergency personnel transported the wounded ADA to the hospital, and at last report, he will survive. I am not aware of the extent of the injury.

The Effingham County Sheriff's Department said the ADA did not commit a crime, and are not filing charges.

Old Effingham County Courthouse

Here are the three key takeaways:

  1. Safety
  2. Emergency Trauma Response
  3. Communication

Safety —

I don't want to beat a dead horse here, but we must understand how to handle a gun safely on and off the range. If someone is new to firearms, or hasn't had a formal safety class, I highly recommend checking out our FREE online class called Gun Safety. This course goes way beyond the four firearm safety rules and gets into how to apply practically the safety rules as an everyday carrier.

gun safety box cover

Many unintended discharges happen while drawing and holstering the gun. Even if we normally handle guns safely, we can become complacent and make a mistake. Here is a link to a series of four stories of gun owners who had unintended discharge during dry fire. These are first-hand accounts, sent in by the people who actually unintentionally shot their guns.

I can say much more about gun safety and how it relates to this incident. However, the stories I've provided links to provide more depth.

Emergency Trauma Response —

IAs important as safe gun handling is the realization that you, or someone you love, may suffer a traumatic injury in any time or location. Nobody went to work at the courthouse that day thinking they would have to treat a gunshot wound. So what abut where you work.?

Do you have trauma kits that contain medical gear appropriate to treat injuries more severe than a scrape or a sprained ankle? If not, do you carry your own gear? Some people carry an individual first aid kit (IFAK). Here is the IFAK I recommend. Perhaps you can't. Have you thought about keeping a trauma kit  inside your desk at work? Here is an option for a comprehensive trauma kit that you can keep at work, in your car or with you at the range.

The bullet that entered the ADA's upper leg could have struck his femoral artery. If that were the case, he would only have a few minutes to stop the blood before he would have lost too much blood and gone into shock.

Okay, if you have the trauma gear, do you know how to use it? Once again, we have a course called Emergency Response Training that is an incredibly thorough training course, taught by Brian McLaughlin of Mountain Man Medical.

IFAK photo on wood

Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK)

Communication —

There is a real possibility that you may sustain injury while defending against an attacker. Even if you prevail, you may suffer major injuries that require immediate intervention.

While it may sound strange that the ADA advised against calling 911, it's actually not uncommon for people who have done something “wrong” to downplay the severity of what just happened. There are many stories where people with self-inflicted gunshot wounds, drove themselves to the hospital for treatment.

Now I'm not saying every person with a gunshot wound needs ambulance transport. However, we need to be careful not to overlook an injury just because it isn't spraying out. You may have internal bleeding or some other severe injury. The last thing you want is to die while you drive to the hospital, or become confused because of blood loss and cause a traffic collision. If in doubt, it's probably best to get the professionals to drive you to the hospital. After all, they can treat you on the way, and inform emergency room doctors of your condition so they are ready when you arrive.

Do an initial assessment to determine if calling 911 is necessary or not. The more knowledge you have about trauma medicine, the better able you'll be able to make the right call. If in doubt, call 911 and get professionals to the scene. While you wait, you can begin that first stage of treatment for the injury. Your goal is to stabilize the injured person until paramedic take over. The massive blood you stop may be what saves the person's life.

guardian nation join

Comments —

I understand it can be upsetting to read about these unintended discharges. I really hope we can look at them for what they are, learn from them and see what we can do better, instead of just commenting about how dumb the person is or how they should never be able to own a gun. Those kinds of comments do not edify or help at all. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

5 Responses to Georgia Prosecutor Shoots Himself Inside Courthouse

  1. Dave April 25, 2022 at 11:07 am #

    I still need to get an IFAK kit since I am guilty of not yet carrying one. I find that many of them would be cumbersome without a fanny pack or back pack though. Maybe someone can recommend one that has the basics and is easier to carry.

    • Matthew Maruster April 25, 2022 at 11:43 am #

      Hi Dave great idea. I’ll include a recommendation for an IFAK in the post.

      • Dave April 26, 2022 at 8:18 am #

        Thank You!

  2. Deke April 25, 2022 at 8:19 pm #

    I’m a little surprised that firearms are allowed in the courthouse. My state doesn’t allow it.

  3. Chris Thayer April 28, 2022 at 4:45 pm #

    The courthouse judges and ADAs usually live by “different rules” than the mortals.

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