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COLUMBIANA CO. Salem man critical in shooting; police say accident was a freak



Published: Mon, August 5, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Authorities have ruled out a suicide attempt.

LISBON -- A 23-year-old Salem man apparently didn't know a handgun was loaded when he put it to his head and pulled the trigger, authorities say.

Matthew Roberts of Pershing Avenue was in critical condition Sunday at Cleveland Metro Health Center this morning.

Roberts was target shooting about 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the home of Richard Faloba, 11376 Trinity Church Road, Center Township, when the accident occurred, Chief Deputy Pete Whitmore of the Columbiana County Sheriff's Department said today.

Roberts had completed firing the .22-caliber semiautomatic handgun and gave the firearm's magazine to a companion, Richard Frederick of Beloit.

Warning from friend

Frederick was reloading the magazine when he noticed Roberts waving the handgun about and warned him to be careful because the firearm was still loaded, Whitmore said.

Roberts apparently didn't realize a cartridge remained in the gun's chamber, Whitmore said.

Roberts put the gun's muzzle against the right side of his head and pulled the trigger.

He was taken by ambulance to Salem Community Hospital. From there he was taken to Cleveland Metro.

Whitmore said neither Roberts nor Frederick were drinking. Authorities also have ruled out a suicide attempt.

"He thought the gun was empty," said Whitmore, who called the shooting a freak accident.




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