MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An accidental shooting in the Memphis Zoo parking lot sent a man to the hospital Tuesday, and he’s now facing charges.
According to police, two men were walking across the parking lot when one man put his hand in his pocket and his gun went off, striking him in the upper thigh.
The victim was in non-critical condition and was taken to the Regional Medical Center for treatment.
A zoo spokesperson said the man was a patron entering the zoo and he was getting his ID out of his pocket at the time.
It is not illegal to have a gun in the zoo, but it must be checked when a person enters. The Memphis Zoo said they are reviewing their current gun policy.
“You can carry a gun,” said Nick Harmeier, chief marketing officer with the Memphis Zoo. “You have to check in at the front, and it requires your ID and a gun permit. Right now we are currently reviewing our current policy.”
Police said the man was issued a misdemeanor citation for unlawful possession of a weapon. Because he did not have the proper permit for the gun, he theoretically would have been denied access, had he made it to the front gate.
Patrons we spoke with said they’re not opposed to licensed, educated owners carrying at a place like the zoo, but the idea of an armed amateur is scarier.
“What if he shot somebody else accidentally?” Kevin Kee said. “What if he caused a death for somebody accidentally? This is quite concerning to me, and I think it would be quite concerning to the general public here.”
We went to the house of the accidental shooter to check on his recovery and get his side of the story, but no one answered the door.