A Pataskala man is recovering after he was shot at a concealed carry class over the weekend.
Investigators with the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office say an instructor accidentally fired a shot at one of his students during a demonstration, thinking the gun was empty.
But investigators say the handgun was loaded with five bullets.
It happened at the Central Ohio Coonhunters Association on Coonpath Road in Fairfield County Saturday night, near the end of a daylong class.
"At first it doesn't seem real, and then you're like, somebody actually just got shot," said Samantha Toki, one of the other students in the class.
She was in the room, about twenty feet away from the Newark man who was accidentally shot.
Toki says instructor that Terry Dunlap, Sr. was demonstrating how a bullet can shoot through a purse or a pant pocket.
"He had a revolver in his hand,” Toki said. “He said 'Bam' and clicked it, and it actually went off and ricocheted off a table and actually went up in someone's arm, the bullet."
"I honestly thought it was fake,” she added. “That it was a set-up, like, ‘Oh, see how easy that can happen, but we immediately knew it was real, and we were just in shock."
Toki says in the next instant, the victim grabbed his arm, saying he'd been shot and then went outside.
Three nurses in the class ran after him, helping him until paramedics arrived.
Dunlap also also rushed outside.
Samantha says the instructor was noticeably upset, on the verge of tears about what just happened.
"He was in complete shock,” she said. “His eyes were huge. He did not expect that gun to go off."
Samantha realizes she, or someone else could have been killed.
“There was a lady directly behind the victim, and if his arm wouldn't have been up around his wife, I'm pretty sure the bullet would have hit her, unfortunately."
She is just glad nobody else got hurt.
"It just makes you really think and take it all very seriously,” she added. “You need to follow all the rules about gun safety because anything can happen at any time."
The sheriff is not ruling out possible that charges could be filed as the investigation continues.
The gunshot victim has been released from the hospital, but he says he is going back later this week to get the bullet removed from his arm.
He also says he will be talking to an attorney.