A Colombian man tried to startle his nephew from a bout of the hiccups by pointing a gun at him, but accidentally pulled the trigger and killed him, police said today.
The distraught uncle then turned the Smith & Wesson .38 special on himself and killed himself, said police in Barranquilla, 435 miles north of Bogota.
The incident occurred on Sunday night after the two men, David Galvan, 21, and his 35-year-old uncle, Rafael Vargas, had been drinking, police said.
When Galvan began to get the hiccups, Vargas apparently decided to try out a commonly held notion that one can be cured of the hiccups if properly frightened.
Based on witness accounts, police believe Vargas sneaked up behind his nephew, pulled his gun out and pointed it at Galvan’s neck.
The gun accidentally went off, killing Galvan, police said.
Luz Marina Prieto, a neighbour, said Vargas “told me beforehand that he was going to scare (Galvan) with his gun”.
Prieto said she heard a gunshot and ran to the door of the house, where she saw Vargas standing over the body of Galvan.
Vargas then ran out of the house and down the street a few yards before stopping and shooting himself in the head, Prieto said.