Just when you thought the sad saga of Quran-burning Florida pastor Terry Jones couldn’t get more absurd…
According to Southfield, Michigan police, Jones’ .40-caliber handgun fired accidentally as he was leaving a television studio there on Thursday night. This is presumably the same handgun he said he intended to bring to his planned anti-sharia law protest in Dearborn, Michigan on Friday, though he’s said he’s come to Dearborn “totally in peace.”
Police told The Detroit Free Press that Jones was getting into the passenger side of his car at 11:10 p.m. Thursday night, after an interview at the TV station, when the gun went off, putting a bullet into the floorboard.
“Officers heard a gunshot, approached the vehicle, asked Mr. Jones if he was OK,” Southfield Police Lt. Nick Loussia said. “He was, and they also observed he had a gun in his hand.”
Loussia said both Jones and his driver were carrying valid Florida concealed weapon licenses, and officers determined a crime had not been committed.
Jones is in Michigan to protest in front of, or near, Dearborn’s Islamic Center of America, and the community has been wrestling with free speech and public safety issues in anticipation of Jones’ actions.
“So, you are coming to protest against an imaginary threat that doesn’t exist in our community,” Jack O’Reilly Jr., the mayor of Dearborn, wrote to Jones in an open letter.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com