A 19-year-old man died over the weekend from an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound after stealing some guns from a home in Independence, Polk County Sheriff's deputies said.
Shortly before 10 a.m. on Sunday, deputies responded to the report of a gunshot victim in a stolen farm truck on farmland outside of Independence.
When investigators arrived, they found Genaro Hernandez Mendoza dead inside the vehicle, deputies told FOX 12.
According to detectives, Hernandez Mendoza was most recently living in West Salem, but had ties to Independence.
Investigators said they determined he was connected to an overnight burglary.
Hernandez Mendoza broke into a house on Independence Highway and stole several items, deputies said.
He then left the scene on foot to hide the stolen property before returning in a stolen farm truck, investigators said.
He then went into the home a second time, taking more items including a rifle and a shotgun, deputies said.
The evidence showed that while Hernandez Mendoza was driving away from the scene the rifle he had just stolen went off accidentally, killing him, deputies said.
Sheriff Bob Wolfe said the investigation would continue in order to absolutely eliminate the possibility of other parties being involved with the burglary, but he said it seemed clear that the death of Hernandez Mendoza was accidental.
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