SANFORD, Fla. - Dozens of customers were eating breakfast in a busy Cracker Barrel when a gun went off, sending people scrambling and one man to the hospital Sunday morning.
Bullet fragments hit three people, including the gun owner’s fiancé.
Deputies said the weapon fell out of the gun owner’s holster while he was walking through the dining room of the Cracker Barrel at 200 Hickman Circle in Sanford.
Deputies said William Hoback was talking to the checkout counter when his gun slipped out of his holster and fired.
The bullet hit a kettle, which sent fragments flying.
Three people were hit by the shrapnel, including a restaurant manager and Hoback’s fiancé.
The third victim’s leg was badly cut and he had to go to the hospital.
The customer told detectives he was eating his breakfast when he heard a loud bang, which was followed by a sharp burning pain in his left shin.
After Hoback realized what had happened, he apologized and explained it was an accident.
Deputies agreed, so he was not charged.
“This shooting doesn’t appear to be intentional and the conduct doesn’t appear to be so reckless that it would support the charge of criminal negligence,” said WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer.
Sheaffer said even though the shooting doesn’t rise to the level of criminal negligence, the victim could file a civil lawsuit.
Channel 9 asked Cracker Barrel’s corporate office if it allows guns in its restaurants, but the company didn’t respond.
Deputies would not say if Hoback had a permit to carry the gun.