OKTAHA, Okla., Aug. 19 (UPI) -- A man at an Oklahoma gun store that declared itself a "Muslim-free" zone accidentally shot himself, the Muskogee County, Okla., sheriff said.
The unidentified man was struck in the arm by a bullet as he dropped his handgun at the store in Oktaha, near Tulsa. Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson told KOTV-TV in Tulsa the man was was part of a volunteer guard protecting the store after the proprietor posted a sign in a window last week declaring it a "Muslim-free" zone.
The store owner's actions came after a shooting in July at a Chattanooga, Tenn., military recruiting station; the assailant later drove to a U.S. Navy Reserve base, where four U.S. Marines, a U.S. Navy specialist and the shooter were killed.
"I didn't want any terrorists, or Muslims, cult, whatever you want to call them, training on my gun range. There is a military recruiting station in the mall in Muskogee, and I thought this was one thing I could do to help protect our local soldiers," said Chad Neal, owner of the Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gear store.
Referring to the volunteer guard, Pearson said, "I saw several of those gentlemen out there yesterday. The way they were holding their weapons, with the fingers on the triggers, you can tell a couple of these gentlemen have no idea about weapons safety. It's like the Clampetts have come to town," a reference to the television program The Beverly Hillbillies.
But a message posted on the Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gear Facebook page criticized law enforcement's characterization of the injured man as a guard.
"The gentleman was a close and personal friend of ours, not a guard nor a customer," the post, signed by a person named Niki, says. "He came over today to help fix a door in my office and as he bent over his weapon felt from a malfunctioning chest holster and went off when it hit the floor."