LLANO COUNTY — Preliminary reports indicate the shooting death of a 21-year-old man the day after Christmas might have been an accident, according to Llano County Sheriff’s Office investigators.
The incident happened sometime before 7 p.m. Dec. 26 in the 100 block of Harold Drive in the Long Mountain Estate subdivision in Llano County.
Dakota Sutter, 21, of Buchanan Dam suffered a wound to the upper torso area caused by a single-action .22-caliber revolver.
He was transported to Seton Medical Center Williamson in Round Rock by ambulance and pronounced dead later that night by Williamson County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Dane Johnston, according to the report.
The victim’s body was then taken to the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.
The Llano County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation into the incident and gathered evidence from at least two other people, who told deputies they were at the scene at the time.
“Apparently, a pistol was dropped and discharged, and it struck the victim in the upper body,” said Llano County Sheriff’s Lt. Glen Williams.
According to the report, an adult male and two other individuals, including the victim, were examining the gun when the shooting occurred.
“(The gun owner) was showing the gun. He was going to holster it. Somehow, it got mishandled and dropped,” he said. “We believe the hammer was down all the way against the firing pin.
“It’s a live round in that gun if the hammer is all the way forward,” Williams said. “The firing pin will be touching the primer, so a good jar will touch it off.”
On Dec. 29, a preliminary autopsy report appeared to corroborate the witness’ accounts, Williams said.
“It appears to be an accidental shooting,” he said. “We’re not going to (officially) call it an accident until we get the full report.”
Williams added the incident has prompted a gun safety reminder.
“Be extremely careful with a firearm. Things could go wrong when you’re simply just trying to put it up,” Williams said.
Gun owners who conceal or open carry loaded handguns should also pay heed to the potential danger.
“If you have a concealed or open carry weapon, of course you don’t want to carry around an empty gun, but make sure you’re safe when you’re home or out in public,” Williams said. “If you’re going to show it to somebody, make sure it’s unloaded. It’s a tragedy, but somebody could learn from it.”
No charges have been filed. The final autopsy is expected in six to eight weeks.