At least 7 killed in accidental shootings across Yakima, Kittitas counties
KITTITAS and YAKIMA COUNTIES, Wash. - The tragic shooting at Central Washington University in Ellensburg is just the latest accidental shooting throughout Kittitas and Yakima counties.
In the past year, there have been at least eight accidental shooting throughout the two counties, killing seven people.
You may remember a 20-year-old man was shot in the back by his friend in Yakima. He died and his friend is facing charges.
In Cle Elum, a 12-year-old girl was shot and killed while target shooting with friends and family.
And a Yakima 14-year-old was shot in the chest because he and a friend were playing around with guns, luckily he survived.
Local Firearm Instructor Samuel Middlebrook said the key to preventing accidental shootings isn't hiding guns from kids but answering their questions, so their curiosity doesn't lead them to danger.
"If they're curious about it and have no exposure to it, they're gonna get hurt or they're gonna hurt themselves or someone else," Middlebrook said. "So I'm a big proponent for educating people in firearm safety at a very early age so that they are exposed to it and they are not going to try to experiment."
He said the responsibility of a firearm falls on the gun owner, to know how to handle it and store it safely.
"If you are going to own firearms, if you're going to carry a firearm, if you're going to enjoy them for sport or collection or anything like that know how to use them responsibly," he said. "The greatest way you can do that is to find a trusted source for training."
Middlebrook wants to remind anyone handling a gun to keep their finger off the trigger until they are ready to fire and to never point a gun at someone or something you aren't willing to destroy.
If you're interested in learning more about firearm safety Middlebrook offers safety classes through Redhawk Firearm Training. He said they are offering a class in Yakima on November 4 and 9.