Woodward firefighters escort an injured deputy into the Woodward Regional Hospital emergency room around 11:15 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6. According to initial reports the man was injured by a suspected bullet ricochet during a firearms training class.

A Woodward County Sheriff's deputy was taken to the hospital late Thursday morning after he was wounded by a possible ricocheting bullet.

Deputy Andrew Minson was hit in the forearm by a "little piece of shrapnel" from a bullet, which then lodged under his skin, according to Sheriff Gary Stanley.

According to scanner traffic, the incident occurred shortly before 11 a.m. and by 11:15 a.m. the deputy had been brought to the hospital.  Minson's right forearm was bandaged as he was escorted by fire and EMS personnel into the emergency room.

Minson was treated at Woodward Regional Hospital and later released.

When asked about the deputy's condition during an interview around 2:45 p.m. Thursday, Stanley said, "he's doing good."

The sheriff said that after taking x-rays of the injury, doctors had decided that surgery was not needed to remove the shrapnel.

"They're just going to let it stay in there and work it's own way out," Stanley said.

He said Minson isn't expected to miss any work other than taking a vacation day that he had previously scheduled for Friday.

"I don't anticipate he'll be off any from work unless something happens and he gets an infection or something," Stanley said.

Minson's injury occurred during a firearms training school at a gun range near William S. Key Correctional Center in Fort Supply, the sheriff said.

"I had 4 deputies in training today for a rifle school," he said.

The shrapnel "was a ricochet from one of the other shooters.  He (Minson) was reloading" at the time of the incident, Stanley said.

The sheriff said that the deputies were shooting at various targets and "one of them must have hit something that split the bullet up and a piece went flying and hit him (Minson) in the arm."

He explained that while the deputies use paper targets for shooting practice, those targets are often clipped onto steel frames.  So it is possible that one of the bullets hit the steel frame at an angle that sent the shrapnel flying at Minson's arm, he said.

The sheriff said bullet ricochets are not all that uncommon.

"If the bullet hits something solid, like metal, it will split up," he said.

However, Stanley said, "I've never heard of anybody getting hit by a ricochet like this."

He said he is just grateful that Minson's injury turned out to be "not very serious."

"We're just lucky there wasn't any worse injury out of this thing," he said.

But while the ricochet injury is a new one for him, the sheriff said that this isn't the first time for one of his deputies to receive an accidental shooting injury.

"I have had a couple of officers who accidentally shot themselves in the leg, but that was with a full bullet," Stanley said, noting.  "If you have your finger on the trigger and the gun gets caught in the holster as you're taking it out, you can end up setting it off and your leg is just right there."



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