OKLAHOMA - A metro teen is lucky to be alive.
He was shot in the chest and shoulder by his cousin over the weekend.
It was an accidental shooting, which experts said could have easily had a much different outcome had the gun had a different type of ammunition.
“I don't think I'll ever touch a gun again,” said London Thephachanh, the teen who fired the gun.
It’s a lesson Thephachanh didn’t want to learn this way.
Sunday, Thephachanh and his cousin were at an estate sale in The Village with Thephachanh's dad.
They were waiting to help move a mattress when they noticed a box.
“It said ‘model’ on it," Thephachanh said. "When I think of model, I think of model, like a toy car, you know.”
The box had a gun inside, one Thephachanh thought was a toy.
“I didn't see a trigger,” he said.
But, the next thing he knew, it went off, shooting his cousin in the chest and shoulder.
“He was like ‘Hey, guys, I got shot,’" Thephachanh said. "It was like a flash. I was stunned.”
The teen victim was taken to the hospital.
X-rays showed nine shots.
Turns out, the ammunition was what's known as birdshot.
“It's essentially a lot of tiny pellets inside the casing,” said Zeke Ernst with H&H Shooting Sports. “As the shell is discharged, the pellets shoot out (in a cone), as they fly through the air.”
In this case, hitting Thephachanh’s cousin and leaving multiple tiny holes in the wall of the home.
“Can it be dangerous or deadly? Absolutely," Ernst said. "All firearms can be dangerous or deadly when used inappropriately.”
Firearms experts said, when it comes to guns, there are a few basic rules:
- Treat every gun as if it's loaded.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot.
- Be aware of who and what you are pointing the gun toward.
“I felt so bad. I felt so guilty," Thephachanh said. "I still do.”
The victim is now at home, recovering.
Thephachanh is still in shock.
He’s hoping his cousin will forgive him.
He's also warning others to be careful any time you see a gun.
“If you see a gun, even if you think it's a toy, tell someone,” Thephachanh said.
The company running the estate sale said they thought all of the guns had been removed from the home prior to the sale.
They said the owner of the home didn't remember having that gun.
They said they are glad the teen victim was not more seriously injured.