Thurston County deputies say a soldier from Fort Lewis was shot unintentionally by his wife early Sunday while he taught her how to use his handgun.

Share story

Thurston County deputies say a soldier from Fort Lewis was shot unintentionally by his wife early Sunday while he taught her how to use his handgun.

The soldier was identified by the Thurston County coroner’s office as Eric J. Autio, 25. His autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

The handgun was Autio’s personal property and not issued by the Army, said Lt. Chris Mealy of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies and medics were called to the couple’s home in the 4300 block of Quail Run Loop Northwest around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Mealy said.

Deputies said that the couple had returned from dinner with friends and family when Autio began to teach his wife how to use his semi-automatic handgun, Mealy said. They were alone in the home, he said.

While she was handling the gun, it went off and Autio was struck in the head with a bullet, Mealy said. The wife told deputies she did not intend to fire the gun, Mealy said.

Autio’s wife made attempts at resuscitation but Autio was dead when authorities arrived, Mealy said.

Autio’s wife told deputies he was scheduled for deployment within days, and they had moved to the home off of Cooper Point Road less than a week ago.

Alcohol had been consumed earlier in the evening, but deputies didn’t know whether it was a factor in the incident.

Autio’s wife is not facing criminal charges, but deputies continue to investigate the incident, Mealy said.