Victim Speaks: Accidental Shooting At Jacksonville Mall, Woman Hit In Good Condition

A day after being shot in the face a Jacksonville woman says she still has a bullet lodged in the left part of her jaw.

Paramedics rushed 58-year old Letha Gibbs to the hospital after she suffered a gunshot wound to the face inside the Jacksonville mall Friday afternoon.

But it was all an accident according to the Jacksonville Police Department. They say Foster Carter who owns Foster's Mens Shop inside the mall was talking with Gibbs when the 77 year old man put his licensed small caliber pistol on a counter inside the service entrance.

The gun slipped and fell on the ground firing the round that hit Gibbs in the cheek. The victim says she had no idea that it was her friends gun that shot her.

From her hospital bed at Pitt County Memorial Gibbs says, "I was just shocked that's all it was because he told the police his gun went off. I was shocked because it didn't feel like a gun it felt like electricity. It was like I got electrocuted."

Gibbs says she has been told by her doctor that at this point she will not need surgery.

She says her doctor says about the bullet in her face, "It can work it's way out."

Police say carter will not face any charges.

Previous Story Below:

A woman is recovering after being shot in the face, but it was by accident according to officials.

Paramedics rushed 58-year-old Letha Gibbs to the hospital after she suffered a gunshot wound to the face inside the Jacksonville Mall Friday afternoon.

Police say 77-year-old Foster Carter, who owns Foster's men's shop inside the mall, was exiting the rear of his store into the service hall when Gibbs and her adult daughter were entering the mall through the service entrance.

Police say Carter spoke to the women as he always does, and while he did, he set down a leather case contained a small-caliber pistol.

Police say while the three were talking, Carter's case containing the pistol fell off the counter, struck the floor and discharged. The bullet exited the case and struck Gibbs in the lower left cheek.

She was transported to Onslow Memorial Hospital and transferred to Pitt Memorial Hospital where she was last listed in good condition.

Police say Carter was licensed to have the pistol, and no charges will be filed.


Previous Story:

Jacksonville Police say there has been a shooting at the Jacksonville Mall on Western Boulevard.

A captain with the Jacksonville Police Department says the shooting was an accidental discharge of a weapon.

The captain said a store owner or employee accidentally discharged a gun in a side service entrance of the mall, and a customer was injured.

We're told she had facial injuries, but they do not appear to be life-threatening. A child with her was not hurt.

There is no word why they were at the service entrance.

Police and law enforcement converged on the mall, but they have all but dispersed as of 5:00 p.m.

The mall is open.

The Jacksonville Mall released a statement:

"There was an accidental discharge of a gun inside one of our service corridors. Unfortunately, a female was injured and she has been taken to the hospital. Our understanding is that her injuries are not life threatening. The police are currently investigating. The mall is fully operational at this time."


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Momof3 Location: Jacksonville, NC on Dec 10, 2009 at 12:09 PM
    Before you people start talking about people, let me just say I have known Mr. Carter for nearly two decades now, and he has not only been a friend to me and my family, he is family. He has helped me and my family, I worked for him for years and he taught me a majority of what I know and I have been successful in the work force ever since. He is the reason I met my husband, and have the family I have, so he is not just some friend I see maybe every once in a while. He is someone I see every Christmas, Thanksgiving, and birthdays, I can assure you that this will not get him down, and before any of you people with no life start with your cyber comments, get your facts straight, and at least he has a life and is not just sitting at a computer 24/7 and like a loser. Mr. Foster is a wonderful man, and I can assure you that a majority of you, are just bored with your lame lives and need to talk junk about other people to feel better about yourselves.
  • by David Location: greenville on Dec 10, 2009 at 11:18 AM
    In reguards to questions and several questionable statements posted by others: There are truely accidental discharges. The story says small caliber gun, you are likely talking about a revolver or small jennings type gun. Many of these can fire when dropped. Many modern guns have hammer blocks or internal safeties that make this rare, but many guns in use today do not have these features. Also it does not matter if the mall is a no carry zone. A store owner can carry in their own business reguardless if it is posted or not.
  • by good guy Location: jacksonville on Dec 8, 2009 at 08:00 AM
    I have been one of mr fosters employees for over eight years now and as far as character is concerned one of the best people alive,so for all you people that are making these crazy comments you need to educate yourself on the story and then make comments not just ramble off at the mouth or fall into the media trap of he say,she say!
  • by WITN on Dec 7, 2009 at 05:40 PM
    Anonymous...you have the wrong station. We don't have any reporter by the name of Anna B.
  • by Anonymous Location: Jacksonville on Dec 7, 2009 at 03:32 PM
    The most recent report of this event is another demonstration of your progression toward sensationalized "news". Ms. Gibbs was accidentally shot. While it is a terrible misfortune, Anna B.'s report clearly stated that Ms. Gibbs was "gunned down", implying that the gun fire was intentional. Be careful of how simple words can lead to false implications. We watch the news for facts, not drama. I look forward to more thoughtful reporting.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 7, 2009 at 01:45 AM
    Dear WITN: Illiteracy is one thing when it comes to common posters. Could you however, please correct the story where it says she "still has a bullet logged in the left part of her jaw"? Unless there is a tree jammed in her face with it... that should read "lodged".
  • by Anonymous on Dec 6, 2009 at 05:10 AM
    Im glad Ms. Gibbs is okay. Miracle at Christmas time. You really have to decide what happened and decide what to do. In this case it was accidental. The man works in Jacksonville. I would carry one myself considering the location, his job, economic times seem to draw out the scumbags to rob others. Im AM sorry this happened and Im sure he is too.
  • by Curtis Location: Clayton on Dec 6, 2009 at 12:26 AM
    people if you're going to carry a gun, carry one with a firing pin safety. I agree there is no such thing as an accidental discharge, only negligence, and i speak from experience.
  • by Vince Location: Washington on Dec 5, 2009 at 11:57 PM
    Logic - Your logic doesn't make sense. Even if your statistic is true (which I don't think it is), I guarantee that I'm going to protect myself from lightning as much as I can. I generally don't hang around outside much during a lightning storm. If I can't get inside, you can bet you won't find me near a tall structure (tree, metal tower, etc....). If I'm in my boat, I'm headed to shore for protection. I'm not going to be swinging a golf club around or doing anything else risky during a lightning storm. I do these things to protect myself. Why shouldn't I be able to protect myself from violent crime as well? The most important thing I have is my life, and you don't think I should be able to protect it from a violent criminal? I'm not afraid of my house burning down, but I have a homeowner's policy. I'm not afraid of wrecking my car, but I have comprehensive coverage. Remember, when seconds count the police are just minutes away.
  • by Dar Location: Wilmar on Dec 5, 2009 at 08:47 PM
    I carry a weapon on me from Jan.-April when I am working late at night. I don't chamber a round until I get ready to leave, then heaven help the lowlifes afterwards. It's amazing that after something like what happened in this story brings out the anti-gun nuts. You take the guns from the everyday citizens then the criminal will have a field day but then again my weapons will have to be pried from my cold, dead hands.
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