A man was killed during a weekend hunting trip when his dog stepped on a loaded rifle, accidentally discharging it into his owner’s back.
The Sumner County Sheriff’s Office in Kansas says the fatal incident occurred Saturday in a rural area near Geuda Springs. The victim has been identified as 30-year-old Joseph Smith.
Deputies received a call shortly before 10 a.m. local time, with a report that a man had been shot in the back. The victim was sitting in the front passenger seat of a pickup truck when the dog “stepped on the rifle” in the back seat, sending a bullet through the man’s back.
“Responding units arrived within minutes of the 911 call and started CPR,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement provided to media. The victim died of his injuries at the scene.
The driver of the truck, who was sitting next to Smith when the gun fired, was not hurt.
Smith worked as a plumber at Browns Plumbing Services in Wichita and his boss, Chris Brown, has set up a GoFundMe for Smith’s family to help them cover the costs of the funeral.
“Joe is absolutely the most unique individual I have had the pleasure of meeting,” Brown wrote of his employee.
“He made us laugh every morning whether it was at him or because of him he always made sure to be a positive light at my company. No matter how bad or stressful my or our day was, Joe always had something to lift our spirits.”
There have been 107 unintentional shootings in the U.S. in the first 25 days of 2023, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.