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Duluth man charged in accidental shooting

A Duluth man is facing prison time after authorities say he accidentally shot his girlfriend in the hand at a Cloquet home in February. Lance Lee Houle, 20, is charged with felony possession of a firearm by a felon and felony reckless discharge o...

A Duluth man is facing prison time after authorities say he accidentally shot his girlfriend in the hand at a Cloquet home in February.

Lance Lee Houle, 20, is charged with felony possession of a firearm by a felon and felony reckless discharge of a firearm within a municipality.

The incident took place Feb. 20 in the early morning hours as Houle and his 18-year-old girlfriend lay in bed in Cloquet, court documents said. Houle was allegedly talking on a cell phone and playing with a loaded .32 caliber Derringer pistol. He was placing his thumb on the hammer mechanism on the pistol and was flicking it when it accidentally fired, according to court documents.

The bullet penetrated the woman's hand near the wrist, exited farther up her arm and then struck her in the chest. She was taken to Community Memorial Hospital in Cloquet, where she was treated and released.

Because Houle was convicted of felony burglary in the second degree in October 2006, he was not supposed to possess or use a firearm, according to his probation restrictions. If he is convicted of the possession charge, Houle could face a mandatory sentence of at least five years in prison and/or thousands of dollars in fines.

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Pine Journal Editor Lisa Baumann can be contacted at: lbaumann@pinejournal.com .

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