Gun misfires, kills man |

Gun misfires, kills man

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

A man was shot to death by his own gun in the Uinta Mountains when the pistol accidentally discharged, the authorities said.

The body of Salt Lake County resident Jon Klopfenstein, 55, was found in the Sulphur area of the forest July 12 at 7:29 p.m. He died from a single gunshot wound, investigators said.

"Initially, we thought it was a suicide," said Josh Wall, a spokesman for the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. "The officers on scene, and the medical examiner from our office determined that this was actually an accidental discharge."

The 9 mm pistol involved in the shooting is a "cheap, junk gun" made in Israel, Wall explained.

The weapon discharged while strapped in its holster, he said.

"The gun gets hit on the hammer and discharges the round in the chamber," Wall said. "The bullet hit the guy in the belly from below."

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The weapon might have struck the ground or exterior of the vehicle, Wall said.

"He fell outside the car, so we’re thinking he is probably getting in or out of the car when this happens," he added. "The empty round was still in the chamber He could have been putting it in the car and it fell to the ground."

Nobody saw the shooting occur.

"Somebody just came across him laying there dead," Wall said, adding that officers do not suspect foul play. "This appears to be his gun and he was there alone, as far as we are aware."