Man using gun as prop shoots and kills self

MYRTLE CREEK, Ore. - A man using a semi-automatic handgun as a prop to tell a story shot himself in the head and died Monday.

Medics rushed Lee Allan Miars, 30, of Myrtle Creek to the hospital, where he later died.

Deputies were called to a Myrtle Creek home on Arnold Lane at 5:30 p.m. They found Miars on the floor with a gunshot wound.

Witnesses told the sheriff's office that Miars was telling a story that involved a gun, using a semi-automatic handgun as a prop.

According to witnesses, he had worked the action and dropped the magazine. Police say Miars then put the gun near his head and fired the weapon, shooting himself.

Officials are investigating the case as an accidental shooting. "We are assuming at this point that he believed the weapon was empty," said Dwes Hutson of the Sheriff's office.

Hutson says many accidental shooting deaths happen when people think the gun isn't loaded. "What we always tell people is to treat every firearm as though it's loaded," he said. "Even if you think you've just unloaded it, even if you think it's safe, it needs to be treated as though it's loaded."

Hutson says following that simple guideline can greatly help reduce the chance of an accidental shooting.