Father accidentally shoots self, dies in front of children

SPOTSYLVANIA, VA (WWBT) Imagine running into the store to return a movie, only to come back and find your husband bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound.

That's what happened this weekend in a bizarre deadly shooting that happened in front of the man's children.

Police are investigating this as an accident, but that's little comfort for the wife and family, who saw the whole episode unfold in front of them.

The Giant grocery store parking lot off Plank Road is not your typical shooting scene. Police say this is where a local 45-year-old man accidentally shot himself while sitting in his car with his children.

"I thought it was crazy," said Jeff Reardon, who works at a nearby gym.  "I can't believe it happened in the parking lot in this area."

A lot of people are wondering how this could happen. According to the police report, he went to take off his seat belt, but instead of unbuckling it, he accidentally pulled the trigger on his gun and shot himself in the hip.

"Accidents always happen like that," Reardon said.  "You got to be careful if you're owning a gun, have it holstered. You just have to be real careful."

We spoke to several of the victim's friends off camera. They say the family is obviously quite upset.

Some bystanders tried to give the man first aid before emergency responders arrived.

"When I first heard it, you said he was shot in the hip, I was like, 'that doesn't sound so bad'," said Aly Caldwell.  "But then you said he actually bled to death... I was like, 'oh my gosh'."

Getting shot in the hip may not sound so serious, but witnesses say the victim bled out quickly.

"Probably he hit his femoral artery," Reardon said.  "That's a major artery in the legs. It's huge. I'm sure if he shot himself in the hip, you're going to bleed to death if you don't get medical attention pretty quickly."

The victim was pronounced dead at Mary Washington Hospital. So far police have not released the man's name.

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