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Goodwill shooting victim’s condition ‘critical’

Man apparently shot himself in head in the ‘lock-up’ room of the Goodwill store with miniature gun

Posted: September 16, 2010 8:47 p.m.
Updated: September 17, 2010 4:30 a.m.
 

A Goodwill store employee from Newhall who had apparently shot himself in the head remained in serious condition at a local hospital Thursday.

Detectives were still unsure whether the 20-year-old shot himself by accident or on purpose at the Saugus thrift shop.
The man was found wounded in the “lock-up room,” where donated weapons are kept, according to Chief Operating Officer Craig Smith of Goodwill Southern California.

“He was in that room, but we haven’t been able to confirm whether anybody had owned (the pistol) or whether it had been donated,” Smith said.

The employee discharged a small-caliber, miniature pistol.

“It’s a tragedy either way, but the message we’re sending is that all guns are dangerous and should be handled safely, regardless of how harmless they may appear,” said Sgt. Darren Harris of the SCV Sheriff’s Station. “This was a very, very small gun and may have been taken as something that wasn’t very dangerous.”

All guns should be handled as if they’re loaded, Harris added.

Bhavna Mistry, marketing specialist at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, confirmed Thursday that the man was in critical condition.

Goodwill officials were unsure how the victim or the pistol got into the “lock-up room,” Smith said.

Goodwill does not accept “weapons of any kind,” but it’s possible an item such as a gun could have been accidentally get donated, said community relations coordinator Lea Fierro of Goodwill Southern California.

“I can tell you that if the gun was donated — and as I said, we don’t know for sure yet — our policy is to turn it immediately to store personnel,” Smith said. “Then it goes into an office area that is kept locked when nobody is in there.”

That office area is under 24-hour surveillance, Smith said. Once the weapons are locked up, Goodwill calls the Sheriff’s Department to take the weapons, Smith said.

Goodwill has previously received accidental weapon donations that were, for example, buried in plastic bag amongst other donations, Smith said.

“That’s sometimes how we could get something like that,” Smith said.

Goodwill is working with detectives to interview everyone who was in the store, Smith said.

“We want to be really thorough,” he said. “Obviously, we’re all upset about this.”

 

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