MILL CREEK WASHINGTON — A 63-year-old man was shot by his son early Friday morning inside a home. The victim called 911 and reported being shot by his son after being mistaken for a burglar.
According to Mill Creek police, around 12:30 a.m. the son fired several shots toward a person that he thought was an intruder. At least one bullet struck his father, who was transported to an area hospital with what were believed to be non-life-threatening injuries. After searching the home, officers found no evidence of a break-in or intruder.
The MCPD indicated that the shooting did appear to be accidental and the son “may have mistaken his father for an intruder.”
This clearly was not a case of mistaken identity – it was a case of NO identity (unless it was an intentional shooting). One of the four gun safety rules is to know your target. In a dark home, there are two practical and relatively inexpensive ways to ensure that…the use of a handheld flashlight or weapon-mounted light.
Every gun owner should also own a quality flashlight and be trained and practiced in it’s use. While weapon-mounted lights do have a use in certain circumstances, a handheld light allows another safety rule to be followed that is not possible with a weapon-mounted light – never point a gun at anything that you do not want to destroy. The flexibility of a handheld light allows positive identification without the need to point the muzzle at the suspicious person.
In this case and in hundreds of others, the use of a flashlight would likely have prevented the shooting when the armed person identified the other person. There are other ways to increase awareness as well. Know who the other people are that can be expected to be in the house. Keep all doors and windows locked and use a home alarm system to alert the occupants to any intruders. Leave strategically placed lights on in the home that would let you identify others without immediately giving away your position…and invest in a good handheld flashlight.