Navy SEAL Dies From Accidental Gunshot Wound

Petty Officer 3rd Class Gene Clayton Jr. Was Taken Off Life Support Saturday Morning

The 22-year-old Navy SEAL who reportedly shot himself in the head early Thursday morning died Saturday at a hospital, Navy officials said.

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Authorities received a call from a person inside a residence in the 1800 block of Grand Avenue in Pacific Beach at around 2:00 a.m Thursday. The person said a man, who sources identified as 22-year-old Gene Clayton, was playing with a 9mm handgun and accidentally shot himself in the head.

A woman who was with Clayton tried to resuscitate him. He was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla where he was placed on life support.

According to police, Clayton and the woman had been drinking at In Cahoots in Mission Valley before they went back to his place.

Police said Clayton may have been "careless" with the weapon when he shot himself.

Vietnam veteran and retired Marine David Miller told 10News that no one who's been drinking should handle weapons.

"That's when your judgment's impaired and your weapon should be put away," said Miller. "If you follow basic safety rules, you don't have accidents. In other words, you don't point the weapon someplace you don't intend to shoot it and you always assume it's loaded."

He was taken off life support and died about 7:45 a.m. Saturday, said Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Frank Magallon.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service continues to investigate, Magallon said.

He is survived by his parents, Gene and Kimberly Clayton, of Ohio, and three sisters.

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