LAKELAND - Investigators still have not ruled on how a Central Florida man died at a Lakeland gun range on Sunday morning.
Two men from the Orlando area were skeet shooting at a public range when one of them suffered what appears to be a self inflicted gunshot wound.
“This is a tragic situation and our hearts go out to the families that were affected,” said Gary Morse, Spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
The FWC runs the Tenoroc Mine Shooting Range in Lakeland.
Investigators with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said Larry Simpson of Clermont was skeet shooting with Dr. Jaime Gonzales, who has a practice in Clermont.
Gonzales told detectives that he was running the remote control at the shooting station number seven when he heard a shot behind him.
He said he turned around and saw Simpson on the ground with a gunshot wound to the upper body, and his shotgun laying beside him.
“There are very few accidents on shooting ranges throughout the United States and this is very rare,” Morse said of the incident.
The FWC would not comment further on the investigation, but explained that every shooter is instructed on safety procedures and signs a waiver before shooting.
While it appears Simpson shot himself, it’s unclear if indeed it was accidental.
“It’s actually very difficult to be able to shoot yourself,” said Thomas Stone, who regularly comes to the range. “Typically when you’re shooting clays, you’re using 28-inch barrel shotguns. You’re not using a short weapon. So, it’s hard to be able to shoot yourself with it.”
He said every time they come to the range, safety is a top priority, even though this is the first accident they have ever heard about.
With his medical background, investigators say Dr. Gonzales tried to revive his friend, but medics pronounced him dead a short time later.
Investigators still have not ruled on a manner of death because as of right now they still don’t know how he died.
An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
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