World Shooting Champion Died After Accidentally Shooting Himself During Hunting Trip

The World Shooting Junior Champion died in a freak accident after he accidentally shot himself Thursday while on a hiking trip with friends.

Cristian Ghilli, 19, was an Italian world junior skeet (clay pigeon shooting) champion who finished third in the World Cup event in Peru and gold at the European Championships. Just in October, Ghilli was crowned World Champion in the sport.

But tragically, Ghilli reportedly shot himself in the stomach while on a hiking trip with friends and later died in the hospital.

Ghilli and his friends were hiking in Montecatini Val di Cecina in Pisa, Italy, when the accident occurred. The Mirror reported that his gun accidentally fired a round into his stomach while he was picking up a few used cartridges.

His friends immediately called for help and Ghilli was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was immediately operated on in an attempt to stop the internal bleeding. Unfortunately, he died shortly after on Thursday evening when doctors were unable to stop the bleeding.

The president of the Italian Shooting Federation, Luciano Rossi, quickly released a statement to local media.

"Last October the young skeet player was crowned World Champion in teams and in the Mixed Team, accompanying the gold with a third individual place in the World Cup in Lima, Peru," he said.

"In May 2021 he had won gold in the individual, team and Mixed Team competition in the European Championship in Osjiek in Croatia. With respect, silence, condolences in the face of a tragedy that leaves everyone upset. May the earth be light to you, Cristian."

Accidental shootings are one of the most common causes of death and kill nearly 500 people in the United States every year, according to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence.

In one study, researchers found that nearly 14 percent of unintentional gun deaths occur while hunting while 28 percent involve children playing with a gun. An additional 17 percent occurred while individuals believed the gun was not loaded.

Man hunting in France
Nineteen year old Cristian Ghilli, a world champion skeet shooter, died after accidentally shooting himself in the stomach during a hiking trip. Jean-Francois Monier/AFP via Getty Images

In Georgia, a man was accidentally shot by a toddler under the age of two after the child found a loaded handgun in the house.

According to police, the toddler shot off a single bullet from the gun that was fatal to Dustin Walters, 25. When Savannah Police responded to the scene on December 5, they discovered Walters with a gunshot wound.

Walters died shortly after being transferred to the hospital.

"What we want to make sure now is that parents are aware that although rare, these incidents can happen with tragic results," Chief Roy Minter said on Tuesday. "Please take this seriously and take the steps to ensure that you and your family members are safe. Make sure those firearms are secured and not accessible by children.

He also recommended that parents with older children have a discussion about firearm safety and have them notify an adult if they ever find a gun.