In tragic news for the entire shooting community, a USPSA range officer was shot over this weekend as the result of an accidental discharge at the Genesee Conservation League during a USPSA match.
The individual who was 67 years old and a long time member of the GCL, was a certified USPSA range officer who was running a shooter when the shooter dropped his gun, which fired when it struck the ground, hitting the range officer. The RO was pronounced dead at the scene. Genesee Conservation League is currently closed while the local authorities complete their investigation.
This is the first fatality we were able to confirm at a US hosted United States Practical Shooting Association match, and serves to illustrate how rare such events are. The only other event we were able to find recently was a shooter accidentally fatally shooting himself in 2017 during a Canadian IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) match. Additionally, this incident illustrates how rare true accidental discharges are. Most unintentional shootings are caused by negligence, however in very rare cases such as this one, they’re caused by a freak accident. With millions of rounds expended every year in competition, this magnitude of this tragedy is increased by its rarity.
There are conflicting anecdotal reports as to how the accident occurred. One report states that the shooter was performing a reload on the move and dropped their gun. Another report says that the gun was dropped during “make ready,” the part of the stage where the shooter loads their gun and holsters it before shooting the stage. Consensus reports indicate that the gun was a double action CZ-type, some models of which are not considered drop safe.
Our sympathies are with all of the people affected by this tragedy, both the family of the victim and the man who now has to live with this on his conscience. It’s a horrible thing, and we cannot express how deeply we feel for everyone involved.
Update 11/11/2020: We now know that the firearm in question was a DA/SA CZ Shadow, which does not have an internal firing pin block. According to eyewitnesses, the gun missed the holster during Load and Make Ready, fell and struck the concrete indoor range floor hammer first, causing the round to discharge.