A dog “jumping around” in the backseat of a parked pickup truck in Wyoming accidentally discharged a rifle that wounded a man standing outside the vehicle, authorities told NBC News on Friday. The victim, 46-year-old Richard Fipps, was taken to a hospital in rural Sheridan on Monday for a non-life-threatening injury to his lower left arm, said Johnson County Sheriff Steve Kozisek.
The Sheridan Press first reported that Fipps could lose his arm because of the injury, but Kozisek couldn’t say Friday if that was still the case. Fipps, a Sheridan landowner, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The incident happened as Fipps and two of his employees were trying to use chains to free another pickup truck stuck in the road. Fipps ordered the pooch — described as a “ranch dog” — from the front seat of the parked pickup to the back, where a .300 Winchester Magnum rifle was kept, Kozisek said. The gun’s safety had been left off.
“At some point, when the dog was jumping around, he either hit the trigger of the firearm or caused something else in the backseat to hit the trigger,” Kozisek said.
The bullet passed through the pickup’s cab and hit Fipps, who was standing to the right side of the vehicle. His employees drove him to the hospital, and he was eventually transferred to another facility in Billings, authorities said. No charges were expected to be filed against the gun’s owner.
Sources: The Sheridan Press, Associated Press