A Juniata gun shop owner who was accidentally shot is on the road to recovery, according to his family.
"We're very happy," said Lori Buchanan Stirling, daughter of Bob Buchanan, 80, owner of the Pioneer Gun Shop at 615 N. Second Ave. Buchanan was hit with a 7.62 by 39 mm round Friday at the gun shop and was airlifted to a Pittsburgh hospital Sunday, Stirling said. After surgery Monday, Buchanan was moved out of the intensive care unit and was talking Tuesday, his daughter said.
"Right now he just needs to rest," Stirling said, adding Buchanan was still in tremendous pain. "He's doing really well, and he's very fortunate. We're very thankful, believe me."
Altoona police said Buchanan was accidentally shot when a rifle being worked on in the shop fired off a round.
Stirling said it was a freak accident and said Buchanan was walking into the work area of the shop when the gun, which was secured on a workbench, fired. The bullet passed through a microwave oven and hit Buchanan in the lower torso. The bullet tore tendons and stomach muscles before exiting Buchanan.
"If he would have been two seconds later coming through the door, it would have missed him," Stirling, who flew in from Clearwater, Fla., to be with her father, said.
The employee, a relative of Buchanan's whose name has not been released, has taken the accidental shooting very hard, Stirling said, and the family doesn't blame him for what happened.
Police said the rifle was not feeding properly and during the repair its action closed and it discharged a round.
"Our family's been through so much," Stirling said, mentioning her brother's still-unsolved murder in June 2001. Less than two weeks after Randall P. "Randy" Buchanan was found dead of blunt force trauma at his apartment near the gun shop, her mother passed away.
Stirling said despite the accident, the family feels lucky. Doctors told her Buchanan's great shape for his age helped him and that he hopefully will return to an Altoona rehabilitation facility by week's end to start the slow recovery process.