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Man charged in pellet gun shooting

A man is facing criminal charges after he allegedly shot a co-worker while playing around with a pellet gun, puncturing the worker's lung.

Deerick Akilee Locke, 21, of Los Angeles has been charged with third-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon following the June incident at the High Cascades Ranger District station at Prospect. Not guilty pleas were entered earlier this week in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Locke has been granted permission to leave Oregon until his trial. A pre-trial conference hearing is scheduled for Oct. 16, court records show.

According to an affidavit by the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Locke was playing around with a BB-style gun when he shot his co-worker, 26-year-old Christopher Cooper, in the ribs. Cooper was flown by helicopter to a Medford hospital. He suffered a punctured lung and the pellet lodged near his heart.

Cooper was reportedly a seasonal worker at the ranger station.

BB and pellet guns can cause serious injuries or death.

An Iowa television stationed reported a 22-year-old woman suffered a punctured lung after being shot with a pellet gun-wielding kid in 2014. The pellet went through her ribs, punctured her lung and lodged in her back.

In 2015, a poodle running loose in Medford was killed when it was shot with a pellet gun. The pellet struck a lung and an artery, according to the Medford Police Department.

This summer, a California teen died after a friend with a pellet gun shot him in the chest, according to a San Francisco-area television station.

— Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.