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Jan 19, 2013 11:14 PM

Laurel County Teen Accidentally Shot By Friend

A teenager was taken to the hospital after he was accidentally shot by a friend Saturday morning, according to the Laurel County Sheriff's Office.

The friend, whom investigators say was handling his grandfather's revolver, tripped and caused the gun to discharge inside his grandfather's home on KY 552. The 14-year-old victim was shot in the stomach and was later airlifted to UK Hospital, deputies said.

The grandfather, who was out of town on business at the time of the shooting, told LEX 18 his grandson and friends got into his locked house through a window when someone became curious about his revolver.

"If I hadn't been going to a place out of town where they didn't allow guns I would have probably had it with me," said Tom Cooper. "[The gun] was on top of the refrigerator and the house was locked. I didn't think anybody would have access to it."

Cooper told LEX 18 he kept the gun unlocked and within reach in case anyone broke into his house. He purchased the gun after his house was broken into several times before.

"I actually shot at a person or two," said Cooper. "When word gets out that you have firearms on the premises, it deters them."

Cooper assumed his grandson was responsible enough to handle weapons after completing a hunting course a few months ago where he learned all about rifles and firearms.

"[The revolver] was off limits but it wasn't locked up all the time," Cooper said. "We haven't had any discussions yet. I'm going to let him actually think about what all he's done and maybe have a talk with him."

The Laurel County Sheriff's Office is reminding parents in light of this incident to lock up all guns and always be present when their children are handling them.

"Everybody is entitled to have a gun but put it in a safe location where children cannot get a hold of them," said Laurel County Sheriff's Deputy Gilbert Acciardo. "This is the first accidental shooting involving teenagers that I can remember in quite some time."

Acciardo said at last check the teenage victim was in surgery. Cooper had heard from his grandson that the teenager was out of the operating room and "up and about".

The accidental shooting is still under investigation.

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