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Gun discharge
McLean County Sheriff Mike Emery presented a photo of an example of the Ruger Mini 14 .223, Monday, February 28, 2011, that was similar to the gun that discharged during a gun show Saturday. Three people were injured in the shooting after a single bullet was fired from the gun on display. (The Pantagraph, David Proeber)

BLOOMINGTON -- The three victims injured when a rifle accidentally discharged at a weekend gun show were identified Monday by authorities.

Robert Feldkamp, 57, of Bloomington remains hospitalized with injuries he suffered when he was struck in the back Saturday during an incident at the Egyptian Collector's Association Gun and Knife Show, Sheriff Mike Emery told reporters at a news conference.

Michael Vandegraft, 63, of Normal was treated at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Normal, where he was released that evening for a shoulder wound. His son, Mark Vandegraft, 37, of El Paso declined medical treatment for facial injuries cause by wood splinters.

Emery said Washington resident Joseph Gift, 68, had been holding a Ruger Mini 14, a .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle, when it went off around 11:15 a.m. at Bloomington's Sale Barn. The bullet passed through a 4- to 6-inch wooden pole, causing the splinters that injured Mark Vandegraft, went through his father's shoulder and then through Feldkamp's back and out his chest, police said.

Police recovered a single bullet Sunday from the building, police said.

Emery said the investigation into the incident is ongoing. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is working with the sheriff's office to determine if federal rules against having loaded weapons at a gun show were violated and if so, by whom, said the sheriff.

"The bureau will be conducting ballistic tests and analyzing the weapon to see why it discharged," Emery said. "They are the experts when it comes to these matters."

Emery said Gift was unsure if his finger was near the trigger when he placed the rifle back on the table.

No charges were filed as of Monday, but guns with ammunition are not allowed at gun sales.

"Once the final report is complete, I will review it and make a determination about charges at that time," McLean County State's Attorney Bill Yoder said.

The rifle is owned by Scott Simpson of Hoopeston. Emery said Simpson gave it to Robert Rigdon of Gold and Diamond Exchange Pawn Shop Inc. of Urbana, who was to sell it on consignment.

It was not clear Monday when the round was placed in the gun or who placed it there.

Simpson declined to comment Monday when contacted by The Pantagraph. There was no answer Monday at a telephone number listed in the store's name.

"The investigation is continuing into why this weapon was loaded and on display," Emery said. "We know that the weapon was on consignment through the vendor. What we continue to investigate is if the owner safety-checked the weapon prior to turning it over to the vendor and if the vendor performed a safety check prior to placing it on display."

Such guns are often used on farms, ranches or personal defense, authorities said.

"This particular gun was popular years ago with police departments and many of them are in surplus now or sold on gun websites," said McLean County Chief Deputy Rusty Thomas.

Edith Brady-Lunny contributed to this report.



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