|Malcolm Barrett Jr.|
The Daily Courier
PRESCOTT - Malcolm Barrett Jr. was cleaning his gun last week when a round fired, striking him in the left hand, but causing no serious damage, a Prescott police report said.
Barrett, 58, is a past chairman of the Yavapai County Republican Party, a high-profile role that cast him as moderator of many GOP forums and debates.
On Wednesday at about 10 p.m., he was at home, practicing disassembling his .45-caliber Colt handgun, the report said. Barrett told officers that he had removed the retaining pin from the gun and was trying to take the slide off, but it became stuck, the report said.
He was pulling on the slide when the gun went off, shooting him in the left hand, the report said.
"Barrett said he must have accidentally chambered a round, but was almost positive that he did not have his finger on the trigger," the report said.
The bullet entered his palm just below and between his index finger and middle finger, then exited.
He went to Yavapai Regional Medical Center, where he was told that the round had missed the bones, ligaments and tendons of his hand, and that he would need only stitches.
The officer said he was in good spirits and that "he was more embarrassed than anything," the report said.
Barrett told police that he thought the bullet had struck a couch and then may have gone through a window after piercing his hand, but he said, there are no homes nearby along the trajectory of the bullet.
In an interview with The Daily Courier, Barrett said, "If I were doing everything the way I should have been doing it, it would not have happened. It was 100 percent preventable."
He said he was lucky not to have permanently damaged his hand.
"It's one of those things where, when it happens to someone else, you think, 'How stupid can they be?'" he said. "And then you do it yourself."
Follow the reporter on Twitter @AZNewsguy