By Dave Rogers
---- — SALISBURY — A Beverly man fatally shot himself with a rented pistol in front of several witnesses yesterday afternoon inside Bob’s Tactical Shooting Range & Gun Shop on Route 1, police say, resulting in the store immediately revising its gun rental policy.
According to police Chief Thomas Fowler, the 32-year-old man, whose name was not released by police, rented a Glock semi-automatic handgun from the range around noon and shot himself once in the head. The shooting was witnessed by at least a half-dozen people and caught on videotape.
The man was transported to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, where he was pronounced dead.
Fowler said local police, along with a state police reconstruction and ballistics team, were investigating what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Bob’s Tactical Shooting Range touts itself as the only indoor shooting range in the state. In addition to allowing access to an indoor shooting range, the business also sells firearms, ammunition and offers gun safety courses. Visitors can rent semi-automatic handguns like the one used in yesterday’s shooting, revolvers and rifles for $10, according to its website.
Fowler said in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, the store has changed its rental policy and will no longer allow individuals to rent guns. Those looking to rent guns must be with another person, according to Fowler.
A store employee asked a reporter at the scene to leave the premises but otherwise didn’t comment on the incident.
Following the incident, police spoke to witnesses and took photos of the victim’s car, a dark-colored sedan with Massachusetts license plates, parked at the end of the business’s narrow lot. The range and store was closed for the remainder of the day.
Yesterday’s fatal shooting was the second presumed suicide at the Route 1 gun range in three years. In February 2011, 60-year-old Hingham man visited the business and shot himself to death. His body was discovered around 6 p.m. on the night of Feb. 23. According to the Essex County District Attorney’s Office, the man was not an employee of the range.