Police news

A man who was playing with his gun inside a store, with a young child nearby, accidentally shot himself in the leg, LaFayette police say.

According to LaFayette Police Department reports, on Sunday, Feb. 26, around 11 a.m., 25-year-old Joseph R. McGill of Trion entered The Pit Stop on East Villanow Street with a young child.

He reportedly pulled a .22-caliber revolver from his holster and was playing with it inside the store.

Shortly before 1 p.m., LaFayette police learned of a shooting and that the victim was at Cornerstone Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe.

Police contacted security personnel at the hospital to learn that McGill shot himself in the lower left leg.

McGill told the hospital he shot himself accidentally while inside The Pit Stop and that his gun was in his vehicle.

Police went to The Pit Stop and spoke with the owner, who said he did not see anyone shot but heard a loud noise. He said he saw a man and a young child in the store at the time.

The store owner asked if McGill was "okay" and McGill said, "yes," paid for his items and then left the store.

Upon viewing the surveillance footage, the owner told police McGill could be seen at the counter playing with his gun, pulling it out of his holster three times, until the gun went off and shot McGill in the left leg.

The small child was about a foot from McGill's left leg.

According to the hospital, the bullet lodged in McGill's leg, which kept it from exiting and striking the child.

The video was turned over to police.

McGill has pending charges currently for reckless conduct and carrying a pistol without a license.

Josh O'Bryant is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He can be reached at the Walker County Messenger office at 706-638-1859 and by email at jobryant@npco.com.