Hopewell Police investigating first case involving 3D printed gun after accidental shooting

The Tri-Cities

HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — A 16-year-old is back home after he accidentally shot himself with a homemade gun on Saturday.

Hopewell police responded to the shooting at a home along Grant Street over the weekend.

Officers said the teen accidentally shot himself in the leg while making part of a handgun with a 3D printer in his bedroom. He was making a glock-style pistol using spare parts for the top half. The bottom half of the gun was made from the 3D printer, according to police.

Lieutenant Cheyenne Casale said the teen bought the 3D printer himself and his parents weren’t aware he was building the gun.

Before this incident, Casale said he wasn’t familiar with people building handguns with 3D printers.

“It’s a fairly new issue that police are dealing with now,” Casale said. “This is the first I’ve come across or the agency for that matter.”

Casale said it’s illegal for the teen to have been making the handgun, however no charges have been filed at this time.

“There are certain limitations as far as like creating portions for a firearm, like accessories,” he said. “However, that’s all regulated by ATF protocols at the federal level and even the state level.”

Lorraine Nickerson, who recently moved to Hopewell, said she’s concerned that teens could access tools like this and also use them to build guns.

“I didn’t know that they’re doing this” she said. “It’s terrible.”

Her family had been affected by gun violence before and hopes children stay away from this activity.

“I have two children murdered in Connecticut. In two different years,” Nickerson said. “Both are my sons, so anybody that has guns I don’t condone it.”

Police are investigating where the teen got the idea from and what his intentions were with the gun. The teen is out of the hospital and should make a full recovery.

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