Memphis Zoo plans to review gun policy after man accidentally shoots self

Updated: Oct. 23, 2019 at 4:41 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Guests at the Memphis Zoo were ducking for cover Monday afternoon at the sound of a gun shot.

Memphis Police say it was an accidental shooting in the zoo parking lot around 4 p.m.

“As we was coming up close to the zoo coming out of the car and to have a nice day at the zoo with the kids, I think my daughter heard a shot ring out,” said Michael Frazier.

Frazier’s daughter did hear a shot at the zoo on a very busy day. Free admission for Tennessee residents and great weather brought lots of families and visitors.

“It went off like a firecracker or something," said a man that wished to not be identified.

He said he was right next to the man who’s gun accidentally discharged, striking him in the leg.

“He staggered a little bit," he said.

When we asked him if he knew what happened he said, "No nobody knew what happened.”

Memphis Zoo Chief Marketing Officer Nick Harmeier, said a man at the entrance gate accidentally shot himself in the leg when he reached into his pocket to get his ID but instead the gun in his pocket went off.

The zoo does allow guns but you have to show a gun permit before entering.

“It’s a little scary working with MPD and our team we reacted very quickly. It’s an unfortunate situation, but it’s one of those things," said Harmeier.

Memphis police were already at the zoo because it was expected to be a busy day. People leaving the zoo knew something was going on because they saw police and a fire truck.

Antray Morrow, from Savannah, Tennessee, was at the zoo with his college class to learn about what Memphis has to offer.

“We just heard a bunch of sirens. We didn’t know what was going on," said Morrow. "Our teacher actually told us to stay in the zoo. Don’t come out anytime soon.”

Zoo officials say they will be reviewing their gun policies as a result of this incident and some visitors agree that it needs to be done.

The man who was shot was taken to the hospital in non-critical condition. No other injuries were reported.

The gun owner was given a misdemeanor citation for unlawful possession of a handgun.

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