By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – A man had seemingly drunk himself in such a stupor that he said he accidentally shot himself early Friday morning while sleeping and didn’t realize it until he saw his hand bleeding while in his bathroom.
Officers were dispatched to the man’s residence on 13th Street at about 5:29 a.m. but the injured party had already been transported to the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center by the time the police arrived. Officers investigated the scene and located where the gun had fired in a bedroom with an entry point into a futon mattress but were unable to locate the bullet.
An officer did find a used syringe in the mattress and secured the gun, which was identified as a Glock 22. The gun apparently had malfunctioned after firing and did not extract the casing.
At the hospital, the injured man said he awoke to the smell of gunpowder and his hand hurting. He then went to the restroom and realized what had transpired. He said he sleeps with the handgun next to him in a holster by his bed but didn’t know how it got out of the holster or how it became fired. He also said he was alone in the room at the time.
The injured man showed symptoms of opiate use but he insisted the used syringe that was found wasn’t his and that he doesn’t use heroin. He did advise, however, that the hospital had administered fentanyl to him for the pain. Fentanyl is much more potent than heroin and likely could have been responsible for the officer’s observations.
Instead, the man said he has an alcohol problem and that the incident was a sign that he needed to stop drinking.
The injured man was treated and released from the hospital, and the officer noted that he would conduct a followup interview with him when he was not under the influence of alcohol or medications administered to him by hospital staff.