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Sallisaw shooting victim not covered by employer's insurance


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A car salesman wounded on the job during an October shooting spree is having trouble getting an insurance company to approve his worker's compensation claim.

Jim Nunn of Muskogee was shot Oct. 26 while working at a Sallisaw Pontiac dealership.

Universal Underwriters Group has said it won't pay for Nunn's medical costs because, they say his injuries were not directly connected to his job.

Nunn, 58, was showing customer Reba Spangler a pickup truck when a gunman, identified by police as Daniel Fears, 18, pulled up to the dealership began firing.

Spangler of Fort Smith, Ark., was killed and Nunn was left with shotgun pellets in his right lung, liver, back and chest.

Eight people were injured and two killed in the 20-minute shooting spree that started in Sallisaw and ended 15 miles later near the Oklahoma-Arkansas state line.

Fears remains in jail without bail.

For Nunn, recovery has been slow. Doctors could not remove the buckshot that entered his lung, but they could repair the cartilage that was damaged in Nunn's right knee when he fell after being shot.

His employer's insurance has refused his claim.

``I worked for the company for over 15 months. I was shot, spent a week in the hospital and was off work five weeks,'' Nunn said. ``I can't believe they denied me coverage.''

Outraged by the insurance company's actions, Nunn hired an attorney.

Ronnie Boswell, owner of the car dealership said he's frustrated with his insurance company. Boswell has paid the initial $1,500 to make sure his employee had surgery.

``The insurance company said they thought they could find case law saying they wouldn't have to pay for Jim's surgery or counseling,'' Boswell said.

Wade Christensen, an attorney representing the insurance company, said approving a workers' compensation claim involves two factors, did the accident happen during the course of employment and is there risk involved in that job.

``My opinion is the accident did not arise out his (Nunn's) employment,'' Christensen said.

As Nunn struggles with the memory of the shooting, his insurance company has said it would not pay for the counseling sessions he attends and the medicine that helps him sleep.

``The shooting is with me every day, every night before I go to sleep, when I drive to work. I just see that poor lady being shot,'' Nunn said.

``I always think about Reba Spangler _ if I could have only helped her.''

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