Man accidentally shoots himself

A 21-year-old Lawrence man accidentally shot himself in the groin early Friday while playing with a gun he didn’t think was loaded.

Police said the man was handling the 9 mm handgun about 1:10 a.m. while with a group of five acquaintances at an apartment in the 1000 block of Missouri Street. The man, who police said was under the influence of alcohol, pulled the trigger and shot himself in “the groin region,” then fell forward and injured his face, said Sgt. Dan Ward. Police declined to be more specific about the nature of the injury.

The man went to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where workers called police. The Lawrence Memorial Hospital nursing supervisor said late Friday that the man had been transferred to University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan. Officers have not released the man’s identity, in part because he is considered a suspect for unlawfully firing a gun.

Police are trying to determine who owned the gun and what happened to it. One of the man’s acquaintances, a 20-year-old Lawrence man, was uncooperative during the investigation and was arrested for obstruction.

Residents at the apartment complex where the shooting took place said they heard the gunshot, but some mistook it for an early Fourth of July celebration.

“It sounded like a firework going off,” said Vanessa DeLeon, 14.

DeLeon, who lives with her mother, Melissa Ridenour, and several other family members in the apartment next to the one where the incident occurred, said she later heard people talking about taking the man to the hospital.

Ridenour said that having a gun go off next door made her fear for the safety of her family.

“I have other children who are in my apartment, and I also have my granddaughter who’s not quite a year old,” she said. “If that was to go off and go through a wall and hit one of us – or God forbid the baby – that’s really serious.”

Hospital officials had no information for release on the condition of the man Friday night.