Don’t worry about this. No, seriously. This particular story is not indicative of a larger trend, as are many of our gun stories. It’s a singularity — something that is capable of happening in one place, and one place only on Earth. So, feel free to lay on back, kick off your Crocs and enjoy this episode of “Tales from North-Central Florida,” starring Sgt. Matthew Magish and his two-year-old son. (Cue Doctor Who theme.)
Middleburg, FL didn’t just get its name from the 1952 edition of “Mad Libs for Sleepy Little Towns.” It’s also about 25 miles southwest of Jacksonville, placing it precisely in the middle between a gas station and that dead coyote what someone seen off’a Highway 21 one time.
The incident happened as a local Sheriff’s deputy (of course) found himself standing in line at Wendy’s (of course) with his father-in-law Rodney Hutchings and his two-year-old son. Sgt. Matthew Magish was off-duty on September 4th, standing in line near at least two other customers, both female.
As the group stood in line, the deputy’s son reached into Magish’s right-front pants pocket “looking for a snack.” Now that might sound a bit odd to outsiders, but keeping treats in one’s pocket is a proven method of training North-Central Floridian children to “sit” and “stay” on command.
Unfortunately, instead of finding tasty slivers of bacon, the Toddler Whisperer’s child found the Kel-Tec .380 semi-automatic pistol that Deputy Magish carried while off-duty. Not recognizing the polymer-composite weapon as possibly the most high-tech thing in Middleburg, he accidentally pulled the trigger.
Magish’s son’s bullet caused some damage.
The bullet blew a large hole out of Deputy Magish’s pants and pocket — a shame, since that exact hole probably would have been immediately useful for drainage had it been about nine inches to the left.
The bullet broke apart as it slammed into Wendy’s tile floor, sending lead, copper and ceramic shrapnel flying in all directions. Magish’s father-in-law was closest to the impact, and suffered minor cuts to his shin and ankle. The legs of the two female customers also in line were peppered with the shrapnel, as were likely Magish and his son, but none required medical attention.
Magish remains on duty, and no charges have been pressed yet for negligence, child endangerment or discharge of a weapon in city limits. We assume his report indicates that the:
“Ground charged toward me in a threatening manner. Had to stand on it.”
And that concludes this week’s episode of Tales from North-Central Florida.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.