Dog Fatally Shoots Man In 'Hunting Related Accident,' Kansas Officials Say

Joseph Austin Smith died after the animal stepped on a rifle, causing it to discharge, according to the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office.

A man died Saturday in Kansas after he was shot by a rifle that fired when a dog stood on it, local authorities said.

The shooting took place at around 9:40 a.m. in a pickup truck on the 1600 block of East 80th Street, a rural road roughly 45 miles south of Wichita.

The victim, Joseph Austin Smith of Wichita, was sitting in the front passenger seat at the time, according to press releases from the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office. There was a rifle in the back seat, as well as hunting gear.

A dog stepped on the rifle, causing it to fire a round that struck Smith, the sheriff’s office said. Units responded within minutes of a 911 call and began CPR, but Smith died at the scene.

The sheriff’s office did not disclose the identity of the person who owns the truck and the dog, or the person who placed the 911 call.

Tim Hay, the chief of fire and emergency medical services for the local city of Wellington, told NBC News that a person in the driver’s seat was unharmed.

“The investigation is ongoing, but the preliminary investigation shows it to be a hunting related accident,” the sheriff’s office wrote.

A verified GoFundMe page set up by Smith’s co-workers at Brown’s Plumbing Services in Wichita described him as “a truly amazing man.”

“He was kind, funny, smart, and very loving,” said one post on the page, attributed to a friend and co-worker named Jessica. “Every time he walked through the door, he would make someone smile. Either from being a goofball or just his natural presence making everything better. It wasn’t hard to love Joe because he always made you feel like you were one of a kind and never left a conversation without letting you know he loved you. Joe is going to be dearly missed by so many. He was a great friend, employee, cousin, brother, son, and dog owner. We have loved and lost one of the best.”

The memorial fund had raised about $13,000 of its $20,000 goal as of Wednesday evening.

The Sumner County Sheriff’s Office, the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks, and Wellington Fire/EMS were the responding agencies, according to the sheriff’s office.

There have been 105 unintentional shootings in the U.S. so far this year, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive.

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