Investigation of Taytan Wing death concluded, PSA on gun safety



Photo credit to the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office

SUBLETTE COUNTY, WYOMING (April 21, 2020) — The Sublette County Sheriff’s Office released a statement regarding the death of Taytan Wing who passed away due to a self-inflicted gunshot. Read the statement below:

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The investigation in to Taytan Wing’s untimely death has concluded that it was due to an accidental self-inflicted gunshot. There is no doubt that Taytan was well versed with the handling of firearms; however, this is a heart wrenching tragedy that shows that no matter how experienced one is, it only takes one mistake to forever change a family and a community. If there is one thing to be gained from Taytan’s loss, please remember to teach, practice, and follow the rules of gun safety:

1 – Most important. Treat EVERY gun as if it is loaded. Even if you see someone clear a gun and they hand it to you, until you physically and visually inspect the weapon, it is NOT safe. The person handing you the gun shouldn’t take exception to you checking it, again.

2 – Treat the muzzle like a light beam. Anything that muzzle crosses can be destroyed: hands, feet, property, etc. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

3 – Trigger finger is your first safety. Your trigger finger should be off the trigger and along the slide or frame of the weapon until you are on target and ready to fire. Startle reflex is when your body’s brain reacts to an outside stimulus causing your muscles to tense up. If your finger is on the trigger, this could cause an accidental discharge. Sympathetic grip can result in the same outcome. When one hand reaches out to grab something, your other hand instinctively does the same. Again, if your finger is on the trigger, it could cause the gun to fire unintentionally.

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4 – Always be sure of your target and what is beyond. Bullets don’t always stop when they hit something, especially paper or cardboard. As well, they can ricochet off solid objects. The projectile can continue for several hundred feet beyond the intended target with the kinetic energy to cause destruction and damage.

5 – Lastly, always secure your firearms when not in use to prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing them.

Gun Safety is everyone’s responsibility, no matter your age or ability level. If you see someone else violating the rules of safety – no matter who it is – speak up and educate others to make the scene safe for everyone.

Taytan Wing was an amazing young man whose life ended way too soon. May his passing not be in vain, but an example to all that life is fragile and you only get one chance on this earth. Again, our heartfelt condolences to his family, classmates, friends, and the “village” who came to know and love him.

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