Irishman shot in US firing range accident

Oh dear...

I know that the Sten / SMG could fire if left cocked and knocked - dropped. In my ignorance, I didn't think that automatic pistols could?
Irishman shot in US firing range accident

By Stephen O'Farrell

Tuesday October 06 2009

AN Irishman was last night in a stable condition in hospital after he was shot in the neck at a firing range in the US.

Gary Flynn (29) from Kilcoole, Co Wicklow, received gun shot wounds to his shoulder and throat when a handgun, owned by another customer, began firing on its own in Davenport, Florida. He is still recovering in hospital after the incident.

The owner of the weapon, Michael Thourot, and his wife, Sherri, were also shot in the freak accident.

Mr Flynn was on holiday at the time and had visited the Saddle Creek Shooting Range with a friend when the incident happened on Saturday at around 10.30am.

He was rushed to Lakeland Medical Centre where he underwent surgery and is now said to be in a stable condition.

When contacted by the Irish Independent yesterday, Mr Flynn's family did not wish to comment.

Mr Thourot, who was shot in the left hand, and his wife, who received wounds to her left arm, have been given the all-clear.

Florida Police are investigating the near-tragedy and said they would have more of an idea of what happened when the Jennings 9mm handgun is taken apart and examined.

They said the gun fired at least three times after Mr Thourot set it down facing his wife, rather than in the recommended position of down-range.

Eyewitness said one person helped Mr Thourot to clean up his hand while Mr Flynn lay, awaiting the arrival of an ambulance.

Nobody else was injured in the incident.

- Stephen O'Farrell

Irish Independent
Edited to add: More detail here...

9mm malfunctions at Lakeland gun range, shoots three people

By Chandra Broadwater, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Monday, October 5, 2009
TAMPA — Michael Thourot had just pulled his hand away from the warm metal when it started spewing bullets.

Moments before, Sherri Thourot had watched her husband fire and reload the Jennings 9mm. Then he set it down for her to shoot next at the range.

That's when the handgun started firing on its own, she said, spinning around in circles, landing the Thourots and an Irish tourist in the hospital.

"Nothing like that has ever happened," said Sherri Thourot on Sunday evening from her room at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

"We've been around guns all our lives."

It was about 10:30 a.m. Saturday when Sherri Thourot, 46, watched her husband, 47, set the gun down. The couple had decided to try out their new gun at the Saddle Creek Shooting Range in Lakeland.

They like the Polk County-owned range. It's strict and safe, the way the Thourots say they like to use their guns.

But as soon as Michael Thourot took his hand off the gun, it started firing like it was possessed, his wife said.

"I saw that he'd been hit, but I couldn't tell how bad," Sherri Thourot said. "Then I realized I had been hit. My hand was bent forward and I couldn't move my arm."

A bullet tore through the back of her right arm and exited from her biceps. Her husband had been shot in the left hand. Another man, a 29-year-old tourist visiting a friend, was hit in the shoulder and throat as he stood behind a shooting stall next to the Thourots.

All three were taken to the Lakeland hospital, where Michael Thourot and the tourist, Gary Flynn, underwent surgery.

Flynn was listed in stable condition at the hospital, while Michael Thourot was released Sunday. His wife said doctors put pins in his hand to help heal shattered bone.

She expected to leave the hospital today.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office said the gun may have been altered, leading to the malfunction. Detectives expect to know more when they take the gun apart and inspect it as they continue to investigate.

Sherri Thourot said her son, 29-year-old Jeremy, brought the 9mm back to the United States after one of his tours in Iraq with the Navy. He gave it to them this summer.

The couple cleaned the gun and made sure it was in good condition before taking it to the range, she said. They never expected to leave in an ambulance.

Before he left the hospital, her husband stopped in to see her.

"He's very shaken up over it," she said. "He's traumatized that anything like this happened to his wife."

But the freak accident won't keep her away from guns.

"I can't allow something like this to cause me to be afraid of something I've done all my life."

Chandra Broadwater can be reached at or (813) 661-2454.
Any weapon can fire inadvertantly in the hands of an idiot.

It is unlikely to be a design flaw in the weapon, more likely that there is an operator induced fault with the weapon.
not an accident gun wasn't point down rage idiot :x
my money is on a 1911 with a stoned down sear...

(done by an idiot)
it would seem that the Jennings 9mm is not the best of pistols,a cheap pistol, for' folks who can't afford anything better","known to send it's slide down range with it's bullet" according to the Firearms Forum I googled as I'd actually never heard of it!
Apparently it was brought home from Iraq by their son.
I know that part of FL quite well - it's more redneck than retirement.
Jennings (Bryco) went bust aftter a $22m lawsuit from a person injured by an ND with one of their pistols....
Maybe there are more idiots involved than the one who owns the pistol....
Didn't unload, didn't keep control and didn't keep weapon pointing down range. Been around weapons all their lives.

Makes for very worrying reading even if the weapon has a fault.
bikertam said:
Didn't unload, didn't keep control and didn't keep weapon pointing down range. Been around weapons all their lives.

Makes for very worrying reading even if the weapon has a fault.
The weapon has a fault all right-between the owner's ears. Bloody lucky it wasn't between someone else's eyes as well!
bikertam said:
Didn't unload, didn't keep control and didn't keep weapon pointing down range. Been around weapons all their lives.

Makes for very worrying reading even if the weapon has a fault.
Correction, it was unloaded via the barrel! 8O
The Jennings 9mm is basically crap. Very cheaply made

Model Jennings Nine,
9mm LUGER caliber Semiautomatic Pistol

WARNING: These pistols may create an EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CONDITION and a POTENTIAL FOR SERIOUS INJURY by firing without pulling the trigger.

During the testing of a Bryco Arms, Jennings Nine pistol by a forensic firearms examiner it was noted that it would fire upon release of the thumb safety and spontaneously fire in a FULL AUTO MODE on an inconsistent basis. When loaded with the manual thumb safety in the “safe” position, if the trigger of the submitted firearm has been pulled stiffly a few times, the firearm will discharge when the thumb safety is moved to the “fire” position.

Disassembly of the pistol revealed some wear/damage to the sear which allows slight downward movement when the trigger is pulled. It appears due to the wear/damage the sear/striker engagement is reduced allowing the striker to override the sear after the thumb safety is released.



AFTE Journal, Spring 2001; Volume 33, Number 2:145-147
Illinois State Police Laboratory, Springfield - Notice, December 7, 2000


WARNING: The Bryco Arms, model Jennings Nine, 9mm Luger caliber, semiautomatic pistol is subject to accidental discharge. The pistol MAGAZINE SAFETY is subject to FAILURE when the trigger is pulled and the magazine release button is depressed simultaneously. When this occurs the pistol will fire even though the magazine has been removed from the pistol.


AFTE Journal, Summer 1999; Volume 31, Number 3:379-381

Bryco/Jennings has at least 3 recall notices on this garbage
flamingo said:
Apparently it was brought home from Iraq by their son.
Probably bad Journo, US Mil Pers. arent allowed to bring Civilian firearms back from Iraq or Afghanistan. Centcom Gen Ord 1 covers it.

My Guess is Pawn Shop outside the base he landed CONUS at.
Touchingly uxorious - he visited the mem before leaving hospital...prince amongst men but with the weapon handling skills of Baron Shortt!
Pleasant though it is to tut wisely and "point out" that the accident wouldn't have happened if the weapon had been pointing downrange, this would only be true for the first shot. A firing gun generally tends to rotate, in accordance with some law of physics (Newton's third?).

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