Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Gun Fail

Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:38 AM PDT


(Click HERE to view original post, including a video)
Let's begin this week's installment with an update on one of last week's stories. Remember Terry Dunlap, Sr.? The gun safety instructor who accidentally shot a student in his concealed carry class? Turns out that this wasn't Terry's very first accidental shooting:
Cathy Schmelzer couldn’t believe it when she read in the newspaper that Terry J. Dunlap Sr. — a firearms instructor — had accidentally shot someone.

“Oh no, he’s done it again!” she said she thought to herself. Schmelzer, 50, was Cathy Hessler, a 14-year-old Pickerington girl, when she was accidentally shot in 1977 by Dunlap during a Halloween hayride.

At the time, Dunlap was a Pickerington police department auxiliary lieutenant. According to a Dispatch account back then, Dunlap said he had fired his .38-caliber handgun into the air to create, in his words, a “scary effect” while taking his daughter and her friends for a “haunted hayride” on his rural property in Fairfield County.

Dunlap said he thought the gun was loaded with blanks. But a bullet ricocheted and hit Cathy Hessler in her right leg.
Lots of kid victims this week, averaging out with the low total last week. Ages 2, 3, 3, 4, 12, 12, 14, 15, 15, and 16.

Other especially noteworthy stories: the tragedy in Tennessee, in which a father's accidental discharge of his AR-15 set off an explosion and fire that killed him and his 12-year-old son, and; the day after local hero Antoinette Tuff talked down the would-be school shooter in Atlanta, a security guard at Savannah State University accidentally discharged his weapon into an occupied classroom. Two different approaches to school security, with two very different outcomes.
[...]this week's list.
  1. BRADENTON, FL, 7/27/13: A second person of interest has been identified in the shooting that injured a 4-year-old boy in Bradenton. Detectives are looking to speak with Davian Evans-Dufrene, 21, who may have been in one of two vehicles involved in a shooting at 11:19 a.m. on July 27, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office. Authorities initially believed a home had been targeted by a drive-by shooter, but later determined gunfire was exchanged between two vehicles. A stray bullet went through a bedroom window at a home on 26th Street West, striking Davien Martinez. The young boy returned home Saturday after a stint at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. "People in one vehicle were firing at a person in another vehicle and the house was in the background and got hit," said sheriff's spokesman Dave Bristow.
  2. SOLOMON, AZ, 8/11/13: For the third time this year, a report has surfaced of a person accidentally shooting himself. Graham County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to a residence on the 5000 block of E. Main Street in Solomon at about 11:42 p.m. on Aug. 11 regarding an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound to the victim’s hand. Upon arrival, a deputy discovered the victim, Ralph Ogas, lying on the living room floor with bloody white towels wrapped around his hand. Ogas allegedly told the deputy that he was unloading his .45 caliber Ruger pistol when he accidentally switched the safety to fire, and a bullet was expelled when he let go of the gun’s slide. The bullet only grazed Ogas’ hand and was described as a “flesh wound” by paramedics from Southwest Ambulance, who treated Ogas at the scene. Ironically, Ogas said he was unloading the weapon to make it safer for his company. He said he keeps his pistol loaded with the slide locked back ready to use for protection but unloads it when he has company over, according to a Sheriff’s Office report. After grazing his hand, the bullet hit a concrete wall, sending shards of concrete onto the couch and other pieces of furniture.
  3. SALISBURY MILLS, NY, 8/16/13: A woman died Friday after she was accidentally shot in Salisbury Mills while handling her boyfriend's pistol, state police said. Kristi Babcock, 30, was holding a gun belonging to Christian Benson at 141 Sycamore St. when it fired.
  4. OPELOUSAS, LA, 8/16/13: A 15-year-old Opelousas teenager has been declared clinically brain dead after a shooting incident on Friday, the first day of school. Opelousas Police Chief Perry Gallow said the teenager didn’t go to school that day, but instead was playing with his brother and two other young men. Exactly what happened is still unknown, but Gallow said it appears the young men had somehow acquired a handgun and were playing with it. For reasons still under investigation, the gun discharged, striking the victim in the head.
  5. DALLAS, TX, 8/16/13: Zackery's misery began last Friday afternoon at the Good Haven Apartments on High Hill Boulevard, not far from the Cedar Crest Golf Course. Dallas police arrived at around 1 p.m. to find the 19-year-old sitting in the front passenger seat of a silver 2007 Honda Civic, blood seeping from a gunshot wound in his leg. What actually happened was that Zackery had accidentally shot himself. She hadn't wanted to say so because he's on probation (he pleaded guilty in March to stealing a car) and, she claimed is a gang member, affiliating himself with the Bloods. She showed officers to a nearby apartment where they recovered the gun -- a Ruger, recently reported stolen in Grand Prairie -- hidden inside Zackery's shoe.
  6. HOWARD CO., IN, 8/17/13: A man was killed Saturday evening in an apparent accidental shooting while he was hunting, police said. Howard County sheriff's deputies were called to the 11300 block of West 100 South, west of Kokomo, just before 6:30 p.m. after dispatchers received a 911 call about the shooting. Witnesses told police the victim, Joseph Steele, 28, had been hunting with family members in a wooded area just south of his home. "Witnesses stated they had split up and at some point had lost sight of the victim. One of the hunters fired at a distance at what he perceived to be a squirrel. Moments later, the victim yelled out that he'd been shot," Howard County sheriff's Capt. Greg Hargrove said in a news release. Steele was shot in the chest, but he was able to talk with witnesses before he lost consciousness.
  7. BROOKLYN, NY, 8/17/13: An NYPD officer is in stable condition after accidentally shooting himself in the leg while holstering his weapon. The NYPD said the incident happened after the officer responded to a domestic dispute in Brooklyn around 8 p.m. on Saturday. The New York Daily News reported that the gun accidentally discharged as the officer was holstering his weapon inside the home in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. The officer, who has not been identified, is a rookie, the Daily News reported. The officer was rushed to Kings County Hospital with a gunshot wound to the kneecap.
  8. SUMMERVILLE, SC, 8/17/13: A 77-year-old man accidentally shot himself in the foot at a Summerville gun range, according to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office. Spokesman Dan Moon says the man was practicing at the firing range at the ATP Gun Shop along College Park Road this morning when the accident occurred. An employee at the ATP Gun Shop told Live 5 that the business has "no comment."
  9. MADISON TOWNSHIP, OH, 8/17/13: A 45-year-old man accidentally shot himself in the hand and left thigh after handling a gun he had just cleaned around 9 p.m. Saturday. The Piper Road area resident told Richland County Sheriff’s deputies he was considering buying a gun from a friend, but it was so dirty he took it home to clean it. The 45-year-old said he cleaned it and put it back in the case. He then pulled it back out to look at it, and pulled the slide back when he hit the decocking lever. “I must have hit the trigger and it went off,” he told deputies, according to sheriff’s reports.
  10. BEATRICE, NE, 8/17/13: A 16-year-old youth was taken to a hospital Saturday, after he was accidentally shot in the leg, about two miles west of Beatrice. Gage County Sheriff Millard “Gus” Gustafson says the 16-year-old was transported to a hospital with a non-life threatening wound to his leg.
  11. BEAUFORT, SC, 8/17/13:  A 23-year-old man was hospitalized after he shot himself in the leg early Saturday morning, a Beaufort Police Department spokeswoman said Monday. Beaufort police officers were handling a disturbance at Club Encore on Burton Hill Road caused by a patron who refused to leave at about 2 a.m. Saturday when they heard a single gunshot, Beaufort police spokeswoman Cpl. Hope Able said. Officers found the man injured by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his leg. He was taken by ambulance to Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Able said.
  12. CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP, MI, 8/17/13: A 26-year-old Chesterfield Township man accidentally shot himself in the evening of Aug. 17 while trying to show his girlfriend how to handle and clean a gun, according to police. The man was rushed from his home at the 48300 block of Harbor to a local hospital, where he was treated for a groin wound.
  13. MISSOULA, MT, 8/18/13: A 23-year-old Missoula man died early Sunday morning from a gunshot wound to the chest. Missoula police and emergency responders were called to an apartment complex at 730 Turner St. on the north side of town at 12:05 a.m. by a person who reported an accidental shooting. When police arrived, they found the 23-year-old unresponsive with a gunshot to his chest, said Sgt. Jake Rosling. The alleged shooter is a 21-year-old Missoula man and an acquaintance of the deceased, Rosling said. A third person, who reported the incident, was at the scene at the time of the shooting. Although the incident remains under investigation and details are still emerging, the gun fired was a pistol, Rosling said. UPDATE: The Missoula Police Department has released the name of the Missoula man who was killed by a bullet fired from his own gun early Sunday. Chad Goodman, 23, died after an acquaintance shot him while they were examining and talking about the loaded semi-automatic handgun, police said. The firearm belonged to Goodman, police reported, but Goodman and the other man had exchanged the gun while talking about it.
  14. DUNDEE, MI, 8/18/13:  A 3 1/2-year-old boy in southeastern Michigan has died after accidentally shooting himself in the head. Dundee police say Damon Holbrook picked up a loaded gun that belonged to a man who was staying in the home. He was pronounced dead Sunday at a hospital in Ann Arbor. Sgt. Tom Redmond says a man returned from work and left the gun on the floor of a bedroom closet. The man’s name hasn’t been released. He’s in jail on a charge of manslaughter with gross negligence. He’s due in court Monday.
  15. ST. LOUIS, MO, 8/18/13: St. Louis police have released a surveillance image showing two men suspected of firing a gun, and accidentally injuring a 12-year-old girl. Police were called to the 1500 block of Carr around 7:49 p.m. Sunday after two men fired several shots during an altercation in and around Loretta Hall Park near 15th and Cole streets. The suspects ran from the scene north and west, toward O'Fallon Place. A stray bullet hit the hand of a 12-year-old girl playing in the park. She was transported to an area hospital in serious but stable condition.
  16. KESWICK, CA, 8/18/13: A man accidentally shot himself in the leg Sunday evening in Keswick. The shooting occurred at about 12:35 a.m. in the 16000 block of California Street in Keswick, near Sacramento Street, according to dispatchers. Sgt. Steve Grashoff said the man - whose name he did not immediately recall - is a former state prison inmate back in Shasta County through Assembly Bill 109, the state's public safety realignment program. Grashoff said the man slung the shotgun over his shoulder and accidentally shot himself in the back of the knee. He will be charged for possessing the gun, Grashoff said, since offenders on probation aren't allowed to have them.
  17. HURON, TN, 8/18/13: The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating the deaths of a father and son after a fatal fire reportedly started after the accidental discharge of an AR-15 rifle. According to a TBI spokesperson, the Henderson County Fire and Sheriff’s Departments responded to the fire and explosion in the 2900 block of McCaney Mill Road in Huron, Sunday. Witnesses said that Terry York, 48, who lived at the residence with his family, was showing a friend the AR-15 rifle when it discharged accidentally. The witness told investigators that a fire and possible explosion ensued instantaneously. The person who witnessed the incident was able to escape the engulfed home, but Terry York and his 12 year-old son Luke had to be pulled out of the burning house.
  18. GOLDEN VALLEY, AZ, 8/18/13: A Golden Valley man was wounded in an accidental shooting on Sunday, August 18. The Mohave County Sheriff’s office investigated the incident reported at a swap meet in the 3200 block of N Bacobi Road. Agency spokeswoman Trish Carter said David Allen Matheson, 52, Golden Valley was transported to Kingman Regional Medical Center for treatment of a non-life threatening gunshot wound to his upper left leg. Carter said Matheson told deputies his .45 caliber handgun accidentally discharged when he was loading an ammunition magazine.
  19. JENNINGS, MO, 8/19/13: A man who suffered a gunshot wound and crashed a Jeep into a home in Jennings on Monday night has changed his story to police. At first, the man told police he had been shot at a grocery store in Moline Acres. Now he says he accidentally shot himself. The incident happened at about 8:30 p.m. Monday. The man was bleeding from a gunshot wound to the left calf when he plowed his Jeep into the garage of a home at 8835 Sumter Avenue. The family inside the home was unhurt. The injured man told officers that his friend found a gun a few days ago and he was told to get rid of it, according to St. Louis County Police Officer Randy Vaughn. The man said he was playing with the gun when he pulled the trigger, not knowing there was a bullet in the chamber. He told police he shot himself in the calf.
  20. BROWNWOOD, TX, 8/19/13: Brownwood Police were called to the 1500 block of Durham Avenue regarding a weapons offense/disorderly conduct. According to the report, multiple calls were received reporting gun shots in the area of the 1200 block of Avenue G and Avenue H. The shots were heard by an officer who was in the area on an unrelated call, the report states. After speaking with numerous individuals in the neighborhood, contact was made at a residence in the 1500 block of Durham where several empty casings were found in the driveway, the report states. Officers spoke with 40-year-old Derek Jason Montemayor, who after being read his Miranda rights indicated he had fired shots in the air while he was cleaning his gun, according to the report. Montemayor was placed under arrest for disorderly conduct.
  21. TURNER, ME, 8/19/13: A 57-year-old man was shot to death Monday afternoon by another worker, who was shooting rodents and stray chickens in a barn at the egg farm where they were working. The shooting appears unintentional but investigators are working to determine why the man with the .22-caliber rifle did not make sure there was nobody in his field of fire, said Deputy Attorney General William Stokes. Investigators also want to know what workplace safety procedures are in place to prevent such incidents from happening. "When using a deadly weapon, obviously, there is a higher duty of care," Stokes said. "The person who may have discharged the weapon may not have even known what happened until police started to re-create the sequence of events." The victim was found some distance away from where he was shot, and police followed a trail of blood as they tried to piece together events, Stokes said. The egg barns are vast, almost the size of a football field. It's not clear if the victim heard the gun being fired, but Stokes said the small-caliber rifle does not make a loud noise when discharged and there may have been loud machinery, such as fans, obscuring the noise, he said.
  22. MERSERVEY, IA, 8/19/13: Cerro Gordo County Sheriff Kevin Pals said his department is investigating a shooting accident that wounded a Meservey man. Nicholas Scott Henning, 34, was transported to Iowa Specialty Hospital in Belmond by a private party on Tuesday. Belmond police were notified of the gunshot wound at 9:22 a.m. Tuesday and then contacted the Sheriff’s Department. According to a press release issued by Pals, Henning told authorities he accidentally discharged a firearm Monday night with the bullet striking him in the leg. The type of gun was not disclosed. The incident took place at his home at 429 First St. in Meservey.
  23. BRADENTON, FL, 8/19/13: A 35-year-old man accidently shot himself in the left leg Monday, according to authorities. The incident occurred at 8:15 p.m. in the 3300 block of 36th Avenue East, according to a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office report. The victim was driving a car with his girlfriend seated next to him when he reached over to the glove box and removed his pistol. The pistol was a 1911A1 with its hammer back, its safety off, un-holstered and a live round in the chamber, according to the report. As the victim was handling the gun, it discharged and the round entered his left leg.
  24. NORTH AUGUSTA, SC, 8/20/13: A security guard is in the hospital this morning after accidentally shooting himself. North Augusta Department of Public Safety responded to 1100 Dittman Court around 7:30 this morning. They found a security guard with an accidental, self-inflicted gun shot wound. Officials say he was putting the gun in the holster when it went off. He was transported by ambulance with a minor gunshot wound to the leg.
  25. LILBURN, GA, 8/20/13: Gwinnett County police are investigating a shooting that killed a 2-year-old boy in Lilburn. A witness told Channel 2’s Steve Gehlbach the shooting took place by the garage door of a home on Stafford Drive in unincorporated Lilburn on Tuesday night. Bullets flew toward the street, and one hit and killed the toddler in the driveway, police said. A witness told Gehlbach that the boy’s father came to the house and got into an argument with the boy’s grandfather. She said the grandfather pulled the trigger, but that she thinks the shooting was an accident. “He didn’t mean to, but he was trying to scare off the guy. The guy shoved him to the ground, so that’s how it started. He shoved him to the ground and he got up and he had the gun and started shooting,” the witness said. Police said they think the man was trying to shoot someone else and the toddler was hit by mistake.
  26. BURR RIDGE, IL, 8/20/13: A Burr Ridge man has been charged with unlawful gun possession after his friend was accidentally shot in the stomach by a gun in the man's home Tuesday night and it was discovered he wasn't a registered gun owner. Mark H. Reinesto, 57, of the 7600 block of South Hamilton Avenue, Burr Ridge, was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition without a firearm owner’s identification (FOID) card, according to a release from the Burr Ridge Police Department. “The man said he and Reinesto were looking at a loaded antique gun in Reinesto’s home when he dropped it, and the gun went off, striking him in the stomach,” the police department release reads.
  27. SAVANNAH, GA, 8/21/13: A Savannah State University public safety officer's firearm discharged Wednesday morning, sending a bullet through two windows before it came to a stop in a classroom wall. University spokeswoman Loretta Heyward said the officer's weapon fired during either a training exercise or a demonstration. The bullet went through a window of the C wing of the Hubert Tech Science Building, where the Department of Public Safety is housed, then through the window of an A wing classroom, where it lodged in the wall. There was a class in session in the room where the bullet came to rest, but no injuries were reported, Heyward said.
  28. CHEYENNE, WY, 8/21/13: A 3-year-old boy in Cheyenne found a loaded handgun in a bag and shot himself in the leg. Laramie County Sheriff's officials say the boy was treated at the Cheyenne hospital and released later in the day Wednesday. Sheriff's officials got the report about 7:45 a.m. They say the boy shot himself once in the calf while he was playing with the gun inside a house.
  29. NEW BOSTON, TX, 8/21/13: Authorities say a teenager has died in an apparent accidental shooting while with several other youths at a car wash in Northeast Texas. King says the shooting of the youth does not appear to be intentional and nobody was immediately arrested. More info: A New Boston High School senior is dead after an apparent accidental shooting by the school’s quarterback, officials said late Wednesday. Semaj Williams was fatally shot about 10 p.m. Wednesday at Fawcett Car Wash in downtown New Boston near the T&P Trailhead Park.
  30. SEATTLE, WA, 8/21/13:  A 14-year-old boy has non-life threatening injuries after accidentally shooting himself in the leg Wednesday. Police responded to the 7100 block of 38th Avenue South to find a 14-year-old boy who had been shot in the leg, below his knee. The boy lead police to believe he had been shot by a male suspect who had fled the scene in a green SUV. Gang Unit detectives uncovered that the shooting was self-inflicted, and the victim had shot himself while passing around a handgun on a basketball court.
  31. ROMANCE, AR, 8/21/13: The White County Sheriff's Department has ruled that the victim in a deadly Wednesday morning shooting accidentally shot himself. Chief Deputy Phillip Miller said the sheriff's department identified the victim as Donald Fletcher Rouse, 20, of Romance. Rouse was found to have an apparent gunshot wound to the head. Witness interviews, evidence and the preliminary autopsy report led authorities to conclude that Rouse accidentally shot himself. First responders were called to the 100 block of Swink Lane in Romance around 2:30 Wednesday morning in reference to a person with a gunshot wound. Deputies said they found Rouse in the front yard of the home.
  32. REDONDO BEACH, CA, 8/21/13: A Redondo Beach woman was arrested early Wednesday after she fired a bullet that ricocheted into her boyfriend's face. The boyfriend was arrested for getting angry and hitting her, police said. The couple were taken into custody shortly after the 12:50 a.m. shooting at an apartment in the 500 block of The Esplanade. The couple were using a pellet gun to shoot at a target in the apartment, but the woman retrieved a real handgun and fired it. The bullet ricocheted and struck the boyfriend's face. Police said alcohol was involved. Karen Benjestorf, 37, of Rolling Hills Estates was arrested on suspicion of a negligent discharge of a firearm. Ronald Barker, 43, of Redondo Beach was arrested on suspicion of battery.
  33. AUGUSTA, GA, 8/21/13: An Augusta man called Richmond County authorities Thursday after discovering that a bullet had been fired into his home overnight. The 60-year-old said he was outside his home on the 100 block of D Court checking a water valve when he noticed a hole in a window, according to a Richmond County Sheriff’s Office incident report. When a deputy arrived, he went inside the home and followed the bullet’s trajectory. According to his notes, the bullet passed through a TV and struck a wall. It was found underneath a dresser that held the TV.
  34. ST. LOUIS, MO, 8/22/13: A 30-year-old St. Louis cop is currently recovering in the hospital from an accidental, self-inflicted wound, cops say. The officer -- with five years of service -- was training on-duty at a firing range during a weapons exercise with SWAT officers, St. Louis Metropolitan Police officials say. He accidentally fired a shot that struck his left foot just before 2 p.m. The incident happened on the 2100 Gasconade Street, police say.
  35. ST. LOUIS, MO: 8/22/13: A 20-year-old man with mental disabilities apparently accidentally shot and killed his 15-year-old sister Thursday afternoon in St. Louis, police say. The man told police he didn’t know the gun was real, according to authorities. St. Louis Police Lt. John Green said that the man and his family moved into a home in the 4600 block of San Francisco Avenue a few days ago, and that the man had found a shotgun — spray-painted gold — hidden behind a dresser. The gun belonged to a friend of the family and was there when the family moved in, Green said. The shooter’s mother told police she had tried to hide the shotgun.
  36. MEMPHIS, TN, 8/22/13: A Memphis, Tenn., kindergarten student is in police custody after he fired a gun in his elementary school cafeteria Thursday morning. The incident didn't result in any injuries, and school is back in normal operation, school officials said. The Westside Elementary School student, 5, brought the gun to school in his backpack Thursday morning, according to school officials at Westside and at the Shelby County schools superintendent's office. While waiting for the opening bell in the cafeteria, the gun accidentally discharged once inside the boy's backpack at about 7:42 a.m. CT during breakfast and before school started at 8 a.m., school officials said.
  37. READING, OH, 8/22/13: A 2-year-old girl is recovering after she was accidentally shot late Thursday in Reading. Officers responded to a report of a child shot in the “lower extremities” about 7:22 p.m. at 7 Lakeview Drive in the Lakeshore apartment complex, police said in a prepared statement. Police classify the incident as an accidental shooting and say there are no suspects.
  38. WAKE FOREST, NC, 8/22/13: A woman accidentally discharged her gun and shot herself in the hand Thursday night inside the Staples store in Wake Forest. The shooting was reported just after 7 p.m., and the woman was taken to WakeMed in Raleigh. Another shopper, Kelli Hamilton, said that as a gun owner, she is surprised an accident like that could happen. "I got my concealed-carry license," she said. "I took the class in March and didn't receive it until July. They do a very thorough background check. You're supposed to go to class, and if you pay attention in that class, things like this shouldn't be happening." More info: Authorities say the mother was shopping with her child in the store when then child reached in her bag. The mother went to grab the gun and it went off, shooting herself in the hand. The mother, 29-year-old Danielle Hayes, is expected to be charged with failure to secure a firearm from a minor. She did have a carry conceal permit.
  39. LEHIGH ACRES, FL, 8/22/13: The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has identified the woman shot during a Thursday incident in Lehigh Acres as Ashley Pruitt. Deputies responded to a shooting at 4923 28th St. SW and discovered Pruitt in the bedroom of the residence suffering from a gunshot to the head, according to a sheriff’s office report. Investigators said Pruitt was initially reluctant to discuss the incident, but she later said the shooting was an accident. She said she was in a bedroom and Dukes was “near the doorway playing with an unknown type of firearm when the gun accidentally went off,” according to the report.
  40. CHEROKEE CO., GA, 8/22/13: One suspect was dead and two others on the run after an alleged carjacking led to gunfire and a crash Thursday afternoon, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said. The wreck happened near the 5000 block Ga. 92, just west of Wade Green Road, Lt. Jay Baker told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Investigators believe a trio of suspects took a man’s Dodge Charger at a nearby apartment complex, Baker said. The car’s owner was in the backseat with one suspect and the two other suspects were in the front as the car was driving, he said. “According to the victim, one of the suspects was hitting him in the head with a firearm and the gun discharged,” Baker said in an emailed statement. “Moments later, the car left the roadway and struck a tree.” The car ran off the road, down a ditch and struck a tree near Poplar Valley mobile home park, Baker said. The suspect driving the Charger was shot in the back and died at the scene.

Originally posted to David Waldman on Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 10:38 AM PDT.

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