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Wells County teen dies from accidental shooting

Monday, March 4, 2013 - 6:49 am

An 18-year-old rural Wells County man who was in critical condition after being shot in the head Saturday afternoon while cleaning handguns with a friend has died.

Heath Bumgarner, of Uniondale, was identified as the victim by the Allen County Coroner's Office. The coroner's office has ruled his death a homicide, though police are investigating the case as a possible accidental shooting.

According to an Indiana State Police news release, State Police Detective Kent Havens said at around 1:15 p.m., Bumgarner and his 19-year-old friend were at a residence in the 3200 block of West County Road 600 N just outside of Markle when the shooting occurred. Havens said that as the two were cleaning handguns, an apparent accidental discharge occurred and Bumgarner was shot in the head. He was shot with what appeared to be a .45-caliber bullet from the handgun that his 19-year-old friend was handling.

Bumgarner was taken immediately to Lutheran Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. He died from his injuries at 5:15 p.m. Sunday.

No arrests have been made and while this appears to be an apparent accidental shooting, an investigation into the incident is under way with help from Detective Diane Betz with the Wells County Sheriff Department and Indiana State Police Crime Scene Technician Sergeant John Petro, according to the release.

The name of the 19-year-old is still being withheld at this time.