A male attendee of the Easter Vigil mass at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona brought a loaded handgun to the service and accidentally set it off just before the closing hymn, The Altoona Mirror reported.
The firearm’s safety lock was apparently not on and the unidentified man’s pants seemed to have activated the gun when the man stood up in the pew of the Roman Catholic church, Altoona police officer Christy Heck told the newspaper.
The man in the central Pennsylvania town was “beyond lucky” to escape with only slight injuries after the bullet grazed him and dug into the floor, Heck said, according to the newspaper.
Law enforcement officials have yet to file any charges in the incident related to the man’s legally carried handgun, but officials in the Altoona Police Department and the Blair County District Attorney’s office are investigating the matter, the newspaper reported.
The man carrying the handgun went to an area hospital to receive treatment for his minor wound and other church attendees comforted each other following the disturbing accident, according to WTAE-TV.
“I immediately took a step back and was about to take cover,” Jason Wagler, who went to the mass with his fiancée, told the TV station. “You never know if you’re safe anymore in this world. It’s a shame to know you can’t go into church without having something like this happen.”