A Bend woman was cited on assault and reckless endangering charges Thursday after a loaded .22-caliber Derringer pistol fell out of her pocket during a visit to McDonald’s and it fired, striking her husband in the abdomen police said. He remained hospitalized Friday, but had improved to fair condition.
Officers were called to the McDonald’s at 2000 NE Third Street around 1:15 p.m. on the reported gunshot wound, said Lt. Chris Carney.
Carney said a preliminary investigation revealed that Richard Lee Cooper, 47, and wife Barbara Annette Masters, 48, were sitting in the restaurant’s dining area when Masters leaned forward and the gun fell out of her pocket and hit the floor.
The impact with the floor caused the gun to go off, with the bullet striking Cooper in the abdomen, he said.
Medics took Cooper to St. Charles-Bend, where he was reported in serious condition later in the day. By Friday, he was listed in fair condition.
Masters was cooperative during the investigation, Carney said, and was cited at the scene on third-degree assault and reckless endangering charges and released.
Police said there were about 15 customers inside the restaurant at the time. Christina Burley, like many of them, was still shaken up as they left the scene.
"I was just sitting there, talking to a lady and all of a sudden we hear this huge boom," Burley said. "We just (gasp) -- 'Oh, my God!'"
The customers were shocked to hear the gun go off -- and especially so close to them.
"Everybody just looked, you know, and they were like, 'Oh my God!'" Burley said. "Half of the restaurant just circled around him and started calling 911."
Many of the others on hand said they felt lucky the shooting wasn't even worse.
"Thanking God it wasn't me," Burley said.
Carney said the situation really points to the importance of gun safety and to always be extra careful while carrying a weapon.
"Obviously, with all the things going on in our country and round the world, anything like this will affect people, and it is really scary," Carney said on the scene.
Carney later offered some reminders of “the four cardinal rules of firearm safety:"
- Treat all firearms as if they are always loaded.
- Keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you’re on target and have made the conscious decision to shoot.
- Never point a firearm at anything you are not willing to kill or destroy.
- Always be aware of your target, the backstop, and what lies beyond.