The owner of an Ohio gun shop was mistakenly shot and killed on Saturday 18 June after a student in a concealed weapon-carrying class accidentally discharged a weapon. The Clermont County Sheriff's Office announced that 64-year-old James Baker, of KayJay Gun Shop in Amelia, Ohio, was shot in the neck before 1pm EDT/6pm BST and pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Baker was shot by a bullet discharged by a student while practicing weapon malfunction drills, as part of standard weapon safety training classes. The sheriff's office said around 10 people were participating in the class in a room next to where Baker was sitting. The bullet travelled through a wall and struck Baker, The Washington Post reported.
Deputies first called an air ambulance to the gun shop, but the owner was pronounced dead at 3.12pm EDT, according to WCPO. The student whose handgun discharged has not been identified.
The KayJay Gun Shop sells firearms, repairs and engraves firearms and can manufacture guns and ammunition, its website reveals. It also offers a range of classes, including CCW, tactical rifle, pistol and rifle training and defensive pistol classes. According to WCPO, the store also has a Class C license, which means it can sell military-grade weapons.
"I can't say enough about him—how much he was loved by the whole community—and we lost someone really special," neighbour Anita Fritz told WCPO. "He was loved and wanted to protect. That's why he did what he did."
Fritz added to the Enquirer, "Cops were always coming in and out, and he told me, 'Don't worry, I'm not in trouble.' They came and looked at his guns, get their guns fixed and cleaned and get their ammo."
Baker's body was taken to the Hamilton County Coroner's Office for an autopsy, Sheriff AJ Rodenberg said. The investigation is ongoing.