A teenager, who was accidentally shot Tuesday, underwent surgery and is expected to fully recover, Walker County sheriff Steve Wilson said.

Around 2 p.m. Tuesday, 17-year-old Joseph Lee Coffman and several friends had finished hunting and had returned to the residence at 218 Thomas Dairy Road in Trion in southern Walker County.

A 15-year-old boy accidentally dropped a 20-gauge shotgun on the ground and the gun went off, shooting Coffman in the abdomen, Wilson said.

The 15-year-old was unloading the shotgun from a pickup truck after the hunt.

Wilson said the 15-year-old pinched his hand on the barrel of the shotgun and his reflex caused him to drop the firearm. The ground impact caused the discharge, Wilson said.

Coffman was flown to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga and underwent surgery. Doctors are expecting a full recovery, the sheriff said.

Wilson said he is unaware at this time if a legal adult was present, but said this was an accidental shooting.

“No intent whatsoever,” Wilson said. “It was a careless, accidental mistake.”

Wilson said Coffman remained Wednesday at Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga.

He said he does not expect any charges against the 15-year-old.

Gun safety

According to Wilson, the Walker County Sheriff’s Office offers a hunter safety course for fifth-graders through the CHAMPS program.

Department of Natural Resources officers work with the program and the DNR offers hunter safety courses that are open to anyone throughout the year.

To learn of and be scheduled for a local hunting safety course, visit georgiawildlife.com/education.

Walker County Messenger

Firearm safety tips

· Point firearm downward toward the ground when handling.

· Double-check to make sure firearm is clear and unloaded.

· When hunting, do not load a firearm until the hunt begins.

· Be aware of individuals around you and your surroundings.

· Always load and unload a firearm with the barrel facing downward.

· Make sure the firearm chamber is clear before picking up and moving firearm around.

· Make sure the safety mechanism is engaged when the firearm is not in use.