A homemade shotgun built by an aspiring gunsmith exploded Thursday near Little Mashel Falls and hurt two people, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
Several people called 911 about 3:45 p.m. to report a possible shooting on the Eatonville trail off Alder Cutoff Road East.
Sheriff’s deputies responded but couldn’t find a victim or anyone who saw a shooting. One witness reported seeing a man with an injured face who asked her not to call police.
Later, officials at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup notified deputies of a possible shooting victim who came in seeking treatment, and deputies spoke with the 20-year-old and his friends.
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They all said the shooting, which was videotaped, was accidental.
A recording showed the aspiring gunsmith take a 12-gauge shell and remove the shot inside before replacing it with powder from a 20-gauge shell, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
When he fired the gun, it exploded in his hands. Part of the shotgun fell into the river.
The young man told investigators he was trying to obtain a gunsmith license from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
He apparently welded together the shotgun himself and was testing a new stock Thursday. The man told deputies he’d fired the weapon before without malfunction.
The explosion injured his face and burned his shoulder. It also injured the hip of a 21-year-old man standing next to him when the shotgun exploded.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653