Couple accidentally shot following guns in church discussion
The Tellico Plains Police Department said a shooting occurred Thursday, though it was not classified as an active shooter situation.
Police said a handgun was accidentally discharged after a discussion of bringing weapons to church was sparked at the First United Methodist Church in Tellico Plains.
Tellico Plains Police Chief Russ Parks told Local 8 News Thursday evening the church was holding a pre-Thanksgiving dinner around 1 p.m. when some of the elders of the church began discussing a seminar being held in Blount County about guns in churches. Parks said the conversation "erupted as far as bringing guns to church and protecting themselves."
One church member pulled his own handgun out and displayed it before church members, unloading it and showing members how it was loaded and what it looked like. The member re-loaded the weapon and placed it back in his pocket, when another member approached him and asked to have a look at it. Parks said somehow, the trigger was pulled during the time of this second display.
Parks said, per EMS responders, the man who owned the gun was shot across the palm of his right hand, and the man's wife was also shot.
The two were identified as Wayne and Kathy Reid. Kathy Reid's son told Local 8 News Friday that his mother has a broken arm, but the bullet only grazed her stomach.
On Friday, Kathy Reid was still in the hospital. Wayne Reid was released from the hospital with injuries to his hand.
The shooting was ruled accidental.
"My biggest thing as far as gun safety is if you're gonna be around a gun like that, be sure you keep your finger off the trigger," Parks said.
Parks said due to confusion between the caller who contacted 911 and dispatch, initial reports indicated the two had been shot outside the church, and that an active shooter situation may be in place.
Schools in Tellico Plains were placed on a temporary lockdown Thursday for students' safety following initial reports of an active shooter situation. However, that lockdown was lifted as soon as the scene was cleared and police learned the shooting had been accidental.