Michael Gardner, 62, fired a blank round into the air to “gain everybody’s attention” before shooting the boy, according to police
A grandfather was arrested after he accidentally shot his 12-year-old grandson in the shoulder while officiating a wedding, according to the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.
Michael Gardner, 62, of Odessa, Texas, was set to preside over the nuptials at Hillside Events in Denton, Nebraska, on Saturday evening, when he fired a blank round from his revolver into the air, Chief Deputy Ben Houchin said during a press conference on Monday.
Gardner was trying to “gain everybody’s attention” after the wedding got to a late start because “somebody forgot the rings,” the deputy explained, noting that the firearm was a Pietta 1860 snub nose revolver and the blank round contained black powder inside the casing with glue.
“When he decided to cock back the hammer of this revolver, it slipped and it shot his grandson in the left shoulder, causing an injury,” Houchin said, adding that the boy was in close proximity to Gardner at the time — both of whom were outside.
“What we believe is the glue is what injured the child,” Houchin said on Monday. He added that the boy was transported to an area hospital before being taken to another hospital in Omaha for “further treatment” of the non-life-threatening injuries.
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“We do have the weapon, the ammunition and the spent casing,” Houchin said.
The deputy also stated that Gardner turned himself in on Monday and was arrested on suspicion of felony child abuse due to the “seriousness of the injuries,” per the press conference. “What the county attorney decides to charge him with is up to him,” he said, adding that the crime fit the statute of child abuse.
“It’s just kind of neglectful to take a gun out that has blanks and fire it amongst people,” Houchin said. “Playing with firearms, no matter what, [even] if they’re blanks, bad things can certainly happen.”
He added, “We do not believe Michael intended to hurt his grandchild. But the act was not very smart.”
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