ROGERSVILLE — A Hawkins County woman who told police she shot herself in the stomach while cleaning her gun Saturday afternoon was listed in good condition Monday at the Holston Valley Medical Center.
Around 3:24 p.m. Saturday police and EMS were dispatched to an accidental shooting report at the home of Vernie Regina Lucas, 41, 6424 Rt. 66, located north of Rogersville.
Upon her arrival responding Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Reba Matthews reportedly found Lucas laying on the bathroom floor with what appeared to be an abdominal gunshot wound.
Lucas stated that she was cleaning a .22 caliber H&R revolver when her thumb slipped off the hammer, and the gun discharged, shooting her in the stomach.
“Mrs. Lucas stated she thought it was a five shot instead of a six shot, and had one in the chamber,” Matthews stated in her report. “Mrs. Lucas was at home by herself. At the detective’s request the weapon was taken until further investigation is conducted.”
HCSO Detective Marc Bass told the Times-News Monday there is no reason to believe Lucas’s gunshot wound was anything but self-inflicted.
Lucas was transported to the HVMC where she underwent surgery.
“She had to have part of her intestine removed, and the bullet hit her spleen,” Bass said. “The bullet bounced around and hit two or three different places.”
Bass added, “It was an older revolver. Her story was that she was fixing to clean it, and she squirted some cleaner on the hammer. The barrel was right up against her stomach. When she was holding the hammer her finger slipped off because of all the stuff on it, and it went off.”