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Saxonburg man shoots self in hand while cleaning gun

He faces charge for having gun

A Saxonburg man, who is not permitted to possess a firearm because of his criminal history, faces charges after he shot himself in the hand on April 9th while cleaning a revolver.

Shawn E. McDonnell, 33, was cleaning a Smith & Wesson .38-caliber revolver at his mother's 204 Mercer St. home in Butler about 9 p.m. Thursday when he shot a semi-wadcutter round through the palm of his left hand.

Butler police were contacted about the shooting by emergency room personnel at Butler Memorial Hospital after McDonnell went there for treatment, according to a city police report.

McDonnell told police that he was switching the grip on the revolver's handle, loaded the gun when he was finished and closed the cylinder, but he must have had his hand on the trigger because the gun fired when the cylinder was closed.

McDonnell's mother, Diane Downs, 57, provided police with documentation proving she owned the gun legally and has a permit to carry the weapon.

A criminal background check on Downs was negative, but McDonnell was found to have convictions in Pennsylvania and Virginia, the latter a "felonious assault"conviction for stabbing an individual.

After conferring with Butler County Assistant District Attorney Mark Lope and officials in Henrico County, Va., city police determined McDonnell's conviction in Virginia prevented him from possessing a firearm in Pennsylvania, and he is charged with illegal possession of a firearm.

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