Kasilof man dies from accidental gunshot

A Kasilof man was accidentally shot and killed with his own gun while working on a vehicle Tuesday morning, according to troopers.

Alaska State Troopers responded to the home of Royce Gardner, 46, at 8:54 a.m., Tuesday after getting a report of a “gunshot wound,” according to a trooper dispatch. Central Emergency Services was also called and declared Gardner dead on the scene.

Gardner had been “working on a vehicle when his revolver fell out of his waistband and hit the vehicle,” troopers wrote in the dispatch. The gun went off on impact, wounding and killing Gardner. His next of kin have been notified, troopers wrote, and his body has been sent to the State Medical Examiner.

Gardner’s sister, Rayme Gardner of Oklahoma, has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for his body to be transported from Alaska.

“We will be flying to Alaska to bring my brother home,” she said in an email.

Royce Gardner has lived on the Kenai Peninsula for 25 years, his sister said, and raised a family with his life partner and her three children. He is a Desert Storm veteran and served in the U.S. Navy.

“My brother’s accident was just that, a freak accident,” Rayme Gardner said in an email. “I believe, as many Alaskans do, in having firearms. My own children were raised with guns in our home, but also with a great deal of firearms safety. It was not normal for my brother to carry a gun.”

Rayme Gardner said she was told the gun was a gift to her brother from a friend. She said her brother “will be greatly missed by his family and the many friends he leaves behind.”

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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