August 17, 2013 in Region

Police say WWU student accidentally shot, killed self

Associated Press

BELLINGHAM – Bellingham police said a Western Washington University student died Friday after accidentally shooting himself in the head while playing with a gun he thought was unloaded.

The Bellingham Herald reported 22-year-old Justin Small died after being taken to St. Joseph Hospital. Roommates told police the semi-automatic handgun had been locked in a safe that belonged to a roommate who had recently moved out. They had been drinking when one of them found the key and opened it.

Police said the roommates had been taking pictures with another weapon and Small had been playing with the handgun. One roommate said he warned Small several time to check if the gun was loaded.

Sgt. Shawn Aiumu said police are investigating the incident but they are labeling it an accident.

“You’ve got to treat any gun as loaded, and definitely alcohol and guns don’t mix,” Aiumu told the Herald.

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