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Feds investigating accidental shooting at Jefferson Barracks

Feds investigating accidental shooting at Jefferson Barracks

Police tape wide

ST. LOUIS COUNTY • No one was injured when a veteran outpatient dropped a small caliber gun inside the mental health outpatient center at Jefferson Barracks today at 2:30 p.m.

Federal law enforcement officials now are investigating the accidental shooting. St. Louis County police have since backed away from the investigation after hospital officials told them the incident was an accidental discharge involving a man known to hospital staff, said Officer Rick Eckhard.

The man accidentally dropped a small caliber weapon and it discharged in the foyer, said Marcena Gunter, spokeswoman for the St. Louis Veterans Administration Healthcare System.

"There is some verification that he does have a right to carry a weapon permit, but there are strong federal regulations that prohibit carrying weapons, guns or ammunition on a federal premises," she said. "There is tremendous signage posted around the center and staff are very vigilant in making certain our patients and guests are aware of that policy."

There are no inpatients inside the building where the shot was fired, but there were other patients around, she said.

"We're being attentive to the needs of the veterans who were there during the incident," she said. "Our mental health director and staff are speaking with them. Certainly incidents like this sometimes are surprising to those that are around and we want to make sure they're needs are cared for. We are very vigilant about making sure people are educated that they are not to bring weapons on our premises."

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Christine Byers is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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