Gun illustration

Gun illustration.

Butte-Silver Bow police say a 21-year-old Montana Tech student who was cleaning a firearm accidentally discharged one round into the floor of his university-owned apartment Monday night.

The 61-year-old faculty member who resided in the apartment below was not home at the time of the incident. The round from the .44 Magnum revolver caused Sheetrock dust to spray across a desk, according to Undersheriff George Skuletich.

The 60-unit building, 1037 Missoula Ave., provides housing for students, families, faculty and staff, said Paul Beatty, university dean of students.

Beatty said he spoke Tuesday with the student whose name was not released.

“He was apologetic, he knew it was a dumb mistake,” Beatty said, adding that the student uses the revolver for hunting and target practice.

“He put a bullet in the chamber, and it accidentally went off,” he said.

Beatty said guns are not allowed on campus with the exception of those possessed by students who use them for target practice or hunting. Those weapons must be kept in a locked storage facility provided by Montana Tech, and checked out by the student gun owners. The facility is supervised by a resident life director.

Beatty said he would be speaking with the student in the next day or two to discuss possible actions and sanctions for damages to the two apartments and putting others at risk, including himself.

“We’ll be addressing (the incident) through our own student conduct,” a written declaration that is a part of the college’s community expectations program, Beatty said.

Skuletich said campus security also responded to the incident. A report of the accidental discharge was sent to the Butte-Silver Bow County Attorney’s Office to review for possible charges.

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