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Maine, NH police alarmed by accidental shooting deaths

Police in Maine and New Hampshire say a handful of high-profile accidental shooting deaths are drawing attention to an alarming problem. (WGME)

BRENTWOOD (WGME) -- Police in Maine and New Hampshire say a handful of high-profile accidental shooting deaths are drawing attention to an alarming problem.

New Hampshire State Police say the recent death of a man, out target practicing in a bird sanctuary in Brentwood, is their highest profile accidental shooting this year.

Police say Christopher Shewokis went target shooting with an adult friend and a juvenile. They say Shewokis loaded the revolver, giving instructions, and say when he handed the gun to the juvenile, it went off. Police say he was killed by a bullet to the chest.

In Maine, we've had at least three high profile accidental shooting deaths in the past 12 months, including 5-year-old Elise Dorr, who died at a home in Scarborough after she took a handgun from her father's backpack.

A month earlier, police say Sebago firefighter Chance Gallant was accidentally shot and killed in a gravel pit while target shooting with his friends.

And 11 months ago, police say former newspaper columnist M.D. Harmon was shot and killed in his home after handing a teen one of his guns.

Kittery Police Lt. John Desjardins says most accidental shootings are the result of human error.

"Gun safety courses are a good idea, regardless of whether you're a hunter or not," Desjardins said.

Police in Maine and New Hampshire don't keep statistics on the number of accidental shooting deaths, but we do know there are now more accidental shooting deaths now in Maine than hunting deaths.

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