BARTON COUNTY – An Ellinwood man was wounded Monday evening when he was struck by what is believed to have been a ricocheted bullet, Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir said.
Barton County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to an address in Ellinwood for the report of a gunshot wound at 6:45 p.m. Monday, Bellendir said. They contacted Dona White, 26, of Ellinwood.
White told the officers he was operating an all-terrain vehicle in the Arkansas River bed near the Knop Sandpit south of Ellinwood when he heard gunfire. At about the same time, he heard a bullet ricochet and felt pain in his right knee.
Bellendir said the investigation indicated a bullet had evidently ricocheted off of a hard surface passing through White’s blue jeans, grazing his leg and leaving about a three-inch mark on his right knee. White refused medical treatment by Ellinwood Emergency Medical Services.
Deputies checked the area to determine who was shooting, but no one was found.
“The Sheriff’s Office strongly urges persons who are engaged in various shooting sports to always know where your bullets are going,” the sheriff said. “Always check for other persons that may be downrange, particularly in rural areas that have trees and other obstructions,” Bellendir said.
Many common rifle rounds are dangerous for more than a mile. Hard surfaces and water can cause ricochet rounds.
“An accidental gunshot wound can result in criminal or civil proceedings,” he said. “In this case tragedy was narrowly averted. Please use caution and common sense when using firearms.”