Orange City police officers are trying to determine how a 16-year-old boy shot himself in the eye with a gun at the Orange City library on Thursday.
The .38 Special discharged when the teen pulled it out to show to his friends, witnesses told the police. Detective Ken Jones said one of the teens spoke up when he saw the boy pull out the weapon and wave it around.
"He told him, 'Hey, put that thing away!' and that was right before it discharged," said Jones. "He might have been looking at it or showing it, and somehow it discharged, striking him in the face."
Carol Burrough said that around ten people were inside Dickinson Memorial Library, off U.S. Highway 17-92, when the shooting occurred. "I heard a really big pop! Sounded like a balloon popping or a really big book dropping on the ground."
No one else was injured and police believe it was an accident.
"I heard his friends screaming and yelling, 'Oh my God! Oh my God!' and ran over there and saw his eye," Burrough said. "I walked out of the library and felt like I was going to cry."
Detectives aren't sure if the University High School student had possession of the gun while he was at school, earlier in the day.
"That's under investigation," said Det. Jones, who indicated that the weapon was listed as stolen ten years ago. "The gun was reported stolen from a Volusia County case, so we'll start there with that report and try to follow through on where he acquired it. His friends said he might have found it last night."
Police plan to talk to the school principal about counseling for the other student involved. The teen, whose name was not released, was in stable condition late Thursday at Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach. The injured boy was not arrested, but he could face illegal-handgun charges.