By Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
OAK HARBOR — An 80-year-old woman who was accidentally shot while eating dinner at an Oak Harbor restaurant Friday night is recovering, according to police.
The 57-year-old Coupeville man who inadvertently fired the gun in the crowded restaurant was arrested, booked and released. Prosecutors will decide whether to charge him with a crime.
Oak Harbor Police Chief Kevin Dresker said the man, who has a concealed license permit, was armed with a .40-caliber handgun at Fraser’s Gourmet Hideaway. The gun owner removed the weapon, placed it on his chair and covered it with a napkin when he momentarily stood up.
The man was placing the gun back in his holster when it fired, Dresker said. The bullet went through the tablecloth and struck the woman, who was seated at another table. The bullet went through her shoulder and exited from her chest area.The woman didn’t initially realize she had been hit.
“Another guest saw a small amount of blood on the woman and said, ‘I think you’ve been shot,’” Dresker said. “She said she didn’t think so but that her back hurt.”
The chief explained that people sometimes don’t feel an injury right away because of shock. He said everyone in the restaurant was startled by the gun going off in the confined space, and it may have taken time to process what had happened.
The woman was later airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment. The bullet didn’t hit any vital organs, according to the police.
The man who discharged the gun was distraught and cooperative with police. There was no reason to believe the shooting was anything but unintentional, Dresker stressed. olice arrested the man on suspicion of assault in the second degree, reckless endangerment and unlawful discharge of a firearm.
This story originally appeared in the Whidbey News-Times, a sibling paper to the Herald.