Walter Payton Involved In Shooting
Apr. 14, 1988
SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (AP) _ No charges will be filed against former Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton in the accidental shooting of a manager at Payton's suburban Chicago restaurant, police say.
The shooting occurred Wednesday when an employee handed Payton an automatic pistol in the office of the restaurant, said Police Chief Kenneth R. Alley.
''I can say at this time without hesitation that it was an accidental discharge,'' Alley said, adding that the gun was a kind which can easily go off by accident.
Elmer Hutson, 28, was in fair condition after undergoing surgery on his left leg at Northwest Community Hospital, said nursing supervisor Gail Hillary.
''Walter is extremely upset over the accident,'' Alley said. ''He was extremely cooperative with us, and so was his wife, Connie.''
Payton's home telephone is unlisted, and he could not be reached for comment. But Mrs. Payton told reporters: ''Walter's fine. He's just disturbed about his employee.''
Payton's agent, Bud Holmes, called the accident ''a most unfortunate, freak kind of mishap.''
Holmes said Payton is ''so extremely cautious and careful. He's a fanatic about being careful with weapons. Walter wouldn't hurt a flea.''
Mrs. Payton, as well as several restaurant employees, was in the office when the gun discharged, striking Hutson just below the knee, Alley said.
Payton had left the recently purchased pistol on his desk and was using a telephone when an employee handed him the gun, according to the police chief.
''It appears that they were just about ready to go home,'' said Alley, who declined to identify the employee who handed Payton the gun.
The gun, a French-made, 9mm automatic pistol, was registered to Payton, a gun collector who had the proper registration, Alley said.
Police didn't know why the gun was loaded, but Alley said it held eight rounds and had five left after the single shot was fired.
Payton told police he he normally didn't keep a gun at the restaurant, but had brought it from his home several days ago.
Payton, who retired from the Bears at the end of the last season as the leading rusher in National Football League history, is a part owner of the restaurant, Studebaker's.