A dog stepped on a loaded rifle, fatally shooting a passenger in his owner’s car during a hunting trip in Geuda Springs, Kan., sheriff’s deputies said.
Joseph Austin Smith, 30, of Wichita was sitting in the front passenger seat of a pickup truck when he was shot in the back, the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
“The back seat contained hunting gear and a rifle,” the statement said. “A canine belonging to the owner of the pickup stepped on the rifle causing the weapon to discharge. The fired round struck the passenger who died of his injuries on scene.”
The sheriff’s office added that it considers the shooting an accident and has closed the case.
Responders were dispatched to the scene shortly before 9:50 a.m. Saturday after receiving a 911 call, the sheriff’s office said. The authorities did not say who placed the 911 call or disclose the name of the person who owns the dog or vehicle. It was not immediately clear what happened to the dog.
A GoFundMe page created by a group of people identified as Smith’s colleagues at Browns Plumbing Services in Wichita remembered him to be “kind, funny, smart, and very loving.” The campaign has raised more than $10,000 as of Wednesday morning. GoFundMe confirmed the validity of the fundraising page. Browns Plumbing Services did not immediately respond to a Washington Post request Wednesday morning for comment.