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Gun Control Group Cites Shooting

November 12, 1997

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Thomas Neuman told police he was in a mall restaurant when he bent over to pick something up and his chrome-plated .32-caliber derringer fell out of his shirt pocket, hit the floor and went off.

Two women who belong to a group that strongly favors gun control were slightly wounded. Now their colleagues are using the shooting as ammunition in their argument that gun control laws need to be strengthened.

``It can happen anywhere. It’s so random,″ said Carole Zimmerman, a spokeswoman for the American Public Health Association, who was standing a few feet from the women when the shooting occurred Monday night.

``This incident has galvanized us once more to put before the American people that no place in this country is safe anymore,″ Dr. Mohammad Akhter, executive director of the association, whose members are in town for a convention, said at a news conference.

Police Lt. Tim Horty said Neuman’s two-shot derringer was confiscated, but no charges were planned because he had a permit for the weapon. Indiana law does not require that handguns be holstered and says nothing about concealed weapons.

Neuman told police he was in the bar at Planet Hollywood when he bent over to pick up beads that had spilled from a broken necklace owned by another patron when the gun fell to the floor.

The single round struck Marsha Larsen, 46, of Mankato, Minn., in the right arm below the elbow, and Kelli Brown-McCormick, 39, of Land O’ Lakes, Fla., in the left palm. They were treated at a hospital and released.

``It was so surreal,″ Zimmerman said. ``We’re sitting there and looking and nobody is doing anything. Then a woman says, `I’m shot,′ and she shows her hand. And another woman says, `I’m shot too.‴

Reached at his home Tuesday by The Associated Press, Neuman declined to discuss what happened. ``I’m not interested in making a comment, thank you,″ he said.

Virginia Caine, county health department director, said the number of gun deaths in Indianapolis is rising at an alarming rate.

Two people were shot to death Monday, bringing the city to within four of setting a one-year homicide record. With about eight weeks left in the year, city police have investigated 116 killings.

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