Mark and Lisa Solomon are both recovering from gunshot wounds
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CENTRALIA – They call it the devil gun.
Mark and Lisa Solomon were both momentarily stunned by a loud bang and ringing as they sat inside their Ford Ranger pickup.
She saw his bloody right hand and didn’t realize she’d been hit in the upper thigh by a 9 mm round.
He saw his wife of 15 years holding her left leg and realized she’d been shot.
“I was worried about her,” he said. “I was trying to put a sweatshirt on it.”
His hand was just numb, he said. Mark Solomon is left handed.
One bullet, two holes and injuries that are still healing.
It happened in late February, in the parking lot at Sunbird Shopping Center in Chehalis.
The 40-year-old Centralia man had just purchased a new holster for his handgun and was behind the wheel of his truck, his wife in the passenger seat, he said. Before they drove away, he was putting his pistol into what he called a paddle holster and the gun discharged, he said.
The bullet traveled through his right hand and lodged in her thigh.
Lisa Solomon spent five days at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Her femur was broken in three places, she said.
Doctors installed a titanium rod that extends from her hip to her knee. It will be about two more weeks before she’s allowed to put any weight on it, she said. For now, she uses a walker.
Mark Solomon’s right hand is still somewhat swollen, and it’s sore when he moves his fingers, he said.
He was only off work for a week. He’s part of a crew that makes bread for Subway restaurants at Millard Refrigeration in Centralia.
Both are grateful the other wasn’t hurt worse, but they’re puzzled about the criminal charge he now faces.
He is charged in Chehalis Municipal Court with reckless endangerment, a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in jail and / or a fine of $10,250. He pleaded not guilty last week.
It was an accident, they said.
“What people don’t understand, is I’m legal to have a loaded pistol,” Mark Solomon said.
“The round never left the vehicle, so it’s not reckless,” he said. “It’s not like it ended up in Centralia, or blew through the windshield, or whizzed by a kid’s leg.”
He said he’s had a concealed weapon permit since 2008, as well as for a few years in the mid-1990s. He just got the 9 mm Kel-Tec three or four months ago.
He’s not impressed with the weapon, or the hard plastic holster he bought.
The pistol has an internal automatic safety, he said. It’s not like his other handgun, with an external safety he can turn on or off, he said.
“What I did, I grabbed the butt of the pistol and put it in, and something got the trigger,” he said. “I didn’t touch the trigger, it caught on something.”
Chehalis police have said they didn’t find any intent to do harm, but that no one should be handling a loaded firearm in a public place like a busy parking lot, nor should a gun’s barrel be pointed at anyone unless one intends to shoot them.
Given a chance to do that day over, Mark Solomon said he’d probably wait until he got home, and unload his weapon before checking out how it fit in the holster, he said.
“It was kind of like a new toy, I wanted to try it out,” he said.
But that doesn’t change, that what occurred was an accident, he said.
Lisa Solomon has a doctor’s appointment on April 24, when she expects to be told she can walk without the aid of a walker.
Mark Solomon will be back in court, with a public defender that same day.
They’re both anxious for the outcome of his court case.
What they do know for sure though, is they don’t want the Kel-Tec back in their lives.
“If I get the gun back, I’m gonna get rid of it,” he said. “I don’t want it around.”