"The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge."
Another Deputy and I had just come back in service after handling a domestic dispute in Grays Hill. Another of my men called me on the radio and told me that he was sitting at the Whale Branch bridge waiting for an Emergency Medical Services unit to arrive. They had received a call stating that a woman had been shot in the head and her husband was driving her to the hospital. The caller had been told that an ambulance would be heading north on Highway 21 to meet them.
The other Deputy and I decided to sit on Highway 21 and see if anything happened, that way if the other Officer called we could respond to help him.
We pulled over onto the shoulder of the south bound lanes and waited. We got out of our cars and stood so we could talk and still hear the radio.
We could hear the E.M.S. unit's siren coming from south of us, from the direction of Beaufort. We were both looking south, trying to spot the ambulance when an old beat up Buick pulled over in front of our patrol cars. We both looked at each other as if to say, now what.
The passenger door flew open and a heavy set black woman got out. She was about five foot two and must have tipped the scales close to two hundred fifty pounds. She had a towel wrapped around her head like a turban. There was blood on the front of the towel and the front of her dress.
She held herself up against the car and started toward us. The driver got out of the car and walked to the back as the woman said, "Help me Sheriff, I done shot myself in my head!"
As the ambulance pulled up, the woman as if in slow motion sunk to her knees at the rear wheel of the car. The driver, who was the woman's husband, shook his head and said, "Stupid woman, it serves you right. I done told you not to mess with my gun!"
The Emergency Medical Technicians checked the woman and loaded her into the ambulance. She had a flesh wound to the head, she would live. The husband explained what had happened. He was planning to go hunting the next day and his wife said she would clean his rifle for him. He told her not to mess with it but she did anyway. While cleaning it, she found that a round was jammed in the chamber. She could not get it out so she got a hammer and hit it while looking down the barrel. By a stroke of luck when the round went off, the rifle jumped so that instead of being shot through the eye the bullet just grazed her forehead.
The husband had no sympathy for his wife at all, he kept asking if we could believe how stupid she was.
by R.L. Dettwiler