Boy killed in southwest Alaska village

Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2003

BETHEL (AP) A 10-year-old southwest Alaska boy died after he retrieved a handgun and it discharged.

Alaska State Troopers said William Murphy of Nunam Iqua was killed Monday.

Nunam Iqua, population 204, was formerly known as Sheldon Point. It's on a south fork of the Yukon River about 18 miles southwest of Emmonak on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and about 500 miles northwest of Anchorage.

The Nunam Iqua village police officer summoned troopers in Bethel at 11 p.m. Monday.

Sgt. Dan Donaldson said the boy climbed onto a kitchen counter top and found a Norinco .45 caliber pistol belonging to his uncle in an upper cabinet. The magazine had been removed from the gun but a round remained in the chamber.

The handgun fired and hit the boy in the chest.

No one else was in the kitchen boy but several other family members were in other rooms of the house. The boy fell onto the counter top where he was found by his grandmother, who laid him on the floor. The boy died instantly, troopers said.

The boy's body was sent to Anchorage for an autopsy by the state medical examiner.

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