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Published: Tuesday, 8/13/2013

Gun-safety student shot in class

Ohio man hit in arm; sheriff’s office rules shooting was accidental


LANCASTER, Ohio — A firearms instructor accidentally shot a student while teaching a gun-safety class on Saturday in Fairfield County to people seeking permits to carry concealed weapons.

Terry J. Dunlap, Sr., who runs a shooting range and training center near Lancaster, was demonstrating a handgun when he fired a .38-caliber bullet that ricocheted off a desk and into student Michael Piemonte’s right arm.

Mr. Dunlap, 73, also is a long-time Violet Township trustee who is running for re-election in November.

Mr. Piemonte said he feels lucky and it could have been worse.

He and his wife, Allison, both 26 and residents of Pataskala in Licking County, attended the daylong concealed-carry class together.

“My wife was sitting just inches away from me,” he said. “It could have easily hit her.”

Mr. Dunlap apparently didn’t know that the gun was loaded, Mr. Piemonte said.

The bullet was slowed down by hitting the desk first. It then ricocheted into Mr. Piemonte’s right arm between his elbow and armpit, he said.

Among the 29 students in the class were several nurses who helped stabilize Mr. Piemonte after the shooting about 7:30 p.m. A medic squad took him to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center in Columbus, and he was released later that night, Mr. Piemonte said.

“I am thankful that it only ended up being in my arm, and didn’t hit my wife or individuals sitting at the desk behind me.”

Mr. Piemonte is studying for his teaching degree at Ohio State University’s Newark campus and plans to teach elementary school.

He said he and his wife, who already has her teaching degree, decided to apply for concealed-carry permits for their own general safety and not specifically for classroom safety.

No charges have been filed. An incident report filed by the responding deputy with the county sheriff’s office called it an accidental shooting.

Mr. Dunlap did not return a telephone message.

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