Man Dies Attempting Appendix Carry Reholster In Milkwaukee

Timothy Phonisay (Facebook)

A 22-year-old Milwaukee man accidentally shot himself in the femoral artery around 11:00 PM Friday evening while attempting to reholster a pistol. Despite the best efforts of the local hospital trauma units, Timothy Phonisay did not survive his wounds.


According to the Medical Examiner’s report,  Phonisay was apparently posing with a handgun and when he went to holster it, a round was fired and entered his right groin area.

Phonisay sustained two penetrating wounds to the right thigh. There was no bullet recovered or found on x-ray, according to the Medical Examiner’s report.

Authorities say Phonisay developed respiratory distress during surgery, at which time blood was found in the chest. A right-sided thoracotomy was performed and a significant amount of blood was removed through a chest tube.  Doctors were unclear where this blood came from, as no other injuries were identified.

The Medical Examiner’s report states that Phonisay’s cardiac status declined and staff was unable to keep up with the amount of blood loss. Phonisay was pronounced dead just before 1 a.m.  His death was ruled an accident.

Another news outlet, the Journal Sentinel, was able to provide a little more detail.

Phonisay was apparently posing with his gun and it discharged when he went to holster it, firing a round into his right groin and striking the femoral artery, according to the medical examiner’s report.

Phonisay purchased the Springfield .45-caliber handgun three months ago and had a concealed carry permit, according to the report.

It’s horrible that young Mr. Phonisay lost his life from such a preventable mistake. Let’s see if we can piece together what went wrong, in hopes of preventing similar tragedies in the future.


On Friday evening, Mr. Phonisay apparently decided that he wanted to talk a selfie with his handgun, described in the Journal Sentinel as a “Springfield .45 -caliber handgun.”

While there is the possibility that Mr. Phonisay was carrying one of Springfield Armory’s 1911-style pistols, it is statistically more likely that he was carrying one of the company’s more popular polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols from the XDXD(M), or XD(S) lines. The polymer frame Springfield pistols are less expensive, lighter, and more commonly sold than the 1911s, and are unfortunately more frequently associated with negligent discharges.

Mr. Phonisay shot himself while reholstering his pistol, and the fact that he shot his femoral artery on the right side of his groin confirms he was attempting to reholster a gun carried in the appendix position.

We do not know, and are likely to never know, is if Mr. Phonisay still had his finger inside the triggerguard of his pistol and accidentally depressed the trigger with his finger, or if the firearm’s trigger snagged on an article of clothing or the holster itself causing it to fire. What is known is that something depressed the trigger while he was reholstering, causing the gun to discharge.

Mr. Phonisay had only owned this hand gun for three months. It is probable that he did not have much training beyond that mandated to obtain a concealed carry permit in Wisconsin, and he almost certainly had no formal instruction in how to use an appendix carry holster.


Use of a proper appendix carry holster and proper technique ensures that you will not point the firearm at your femoral artery. Unfortunately, it is obvious that Mr. Phonisay didn’t follow correct technique, and the gun pointed towards his body, ensuring this negligent discharge would become a fatal one.

AIWB is a wonderful carry position. It is very comfortable and secure, and fast to draw when needed. Like every carry technique, however, it requires some training and practice to do safely.

Our sincere condolences go out to Mr. Phonisay’s family and friends.

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