Dog Shoots and Kills His Owner, 32, in Freak Hunting Accident, Kansas Authorities Say

Officials in Kansas say a man has died after he was shot by his dog in a freak hunting accident.

Joseph Austin Smith, 30, of Witchita, was killed Saturday morning when his dog discharged the gun while they both were inside his pickup truck, the Sumner County Sheriff's Office says in a series of press releases, obtained by PEOPLE.

Police said the accident took place in the area of 80th Street South and River Road, which is north of Geuda Springs, according to ABC affiliate KAKE.

The victim was sitting in the front passenger seat of his vehicle when the canine "stepped on the rifle" in the back seat, according to the department. The bullet struck the man in the front seat.

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hunting dog
hunting dog

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"Responding units arrived within minutes of the 911 call and started CPR," the sheriff's office said.

However, the SCSO said the victim "died of his injuries" at the scene of the shooting.

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There have been 101 unintentional shootings in the United States since the new year began, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.

More than 1,600 unintentional shootings were reported in 2022, per the non-profit organization's website.

So far, more than 2,400 gun deaths have been recording the the U.S. in 2023.