A Glasgow outdoor supplies store should be held liable for the injury of an on-duty Glasgow Police Department officer after a handgun he asked to view discharged while he was handling it, according to a lawsuit filed Friday.
Darrell Smith accuses Barren Outdoors and several of its employees of negligence in the four-page complaint filed in Barren Circuit Court.
TBL Inc., the corporation that does business as Barren Outdoors, is named as a defendant in the complaint, as was the store itself, store co-owners Todd, Janie and Bill Logsdon, employee Dave Gass and an “unknown defendant” who may have caused a loaded weapon to be placed in a display case at the business.
Smith lost a finger on his left hand and movement in another finger and has been unable to return to work since the March 26 incident, which was recorded on in-store security video.
The video shows an employee identified in the lawsuit as Gass remove a handgun from a display case and hand it to Smith, who is in his GPD uniform.
Smith asked to view the handgun, a Sig Sauer Copperhead .380 caliber firearm.
Gass appears not to check for any chambered ammunition in the weapon before handing it to Smith.
Smith handles the weapon in his right hand for less than a minute before it discharges and strikes his left hand, causing Smith to jerk back that hand. Four other people at the store are shown in the video reacting with surprise.
“I truly believe that it’s outrageously, grossly negligent to hand someone a loaded firearm and not tell them it’s loaded ... (Glasgow Outdoors is) very lucky somebody didn’t get killed,” said Smith’s attorney, Alan Simpson of Bowling Green.
Smith had to agree to retire from the GPD by a certain point and was unable to file a workers’ compensation claim because the injury was determined not to be work-related, Simpson said.
The lawsuit asks for compensatory and punitive damages and seeks damages to recover medical expenses, lost earnings and earning capacity, along with physical and mental pain and suffering.
“People who have more experience around weapons and gun stores know that gun stores don’t hand people loaded guns ... that’s just Gun Store Safety 101,” Simpson said.
Reached Friday, Todd Logsdon said he was unaware of the lawsuit.
“I will say this – the whole incident is on video, so it should be easy for the court to reach a conclusion about the liability,” Logsdon said.
— Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter at twitter.com/jstorydailynews