An investigation has determined that a 20-year-old man who died from a gunshot wound last week south of Ketchum accidentally shot himself in the head.
Silver Dan Paucar, a native of Peru and an 11-year Wood River Valley resident, died shortly after midnight on Wednesday, July 26, at his Suntree Hollow residence near St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center.
Sgt. Jay Davis, a Blaine County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said Monday that Paucar and his brother, 18-year-old Jhean Paucar, were "playing with the gun," a Walther semi-automatic 9mm handgun, when the mishap occurred.
Davis said Silver Paucar apparently removed the clip, thinking the gun was unloaded and failed to realize that there was still a live round in the chamber.
He said Silver Paucar pointed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger, causing an "accidentally self-inflicted gunshot wound to the right side of the temple." He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Davis said the investigation showed that the Paucar brothers were drinking alcohol prior to the incident.
Silver Paucar graduated from Wood River High School in 2004. According to his obituary, he had studied business at the College of Southern Idaho and was planning to attend the Twin Falls Police Academy this fall.
His obituary describes him as "a very happy and easy-going person who was always surrounded by his friends and was a natural leader. He loved to swim and study. Silver had a great relationship with his family."
Silver Paucar is survived by his mother, Carmen Vilcapoma, of Ketchum, and his father, Freddy Paucar, of Shoshone. Brothers Ronald Paucar and Jhean Paucar live in Ketchum.
Memorial services were held Saturday at St. Charles Catholic Church in Hailey. Silver Paucar was buried in the Hailey Cemetery.
Davis, a gun instructor at the sheriff's office, said the tragedy highlights the importance of being careful with guns, especially semi-automatic handguns. He said that accidental shooting victims too often make the mistake of thinking a semi-automatic gun is unloaded if the clip is removed, without realizing that a bullet might still be in the chamber.
"You've just got to use your head," Davis said. "Do a visual check. Treat every gun as if it's fully loaded. And never point a gun at anything unless you plan to destroy it."