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Grandfather accidentally shoots his 12-year-old grandson while officiating a wedding

Michael Gardner, 62, ‘decided to gain everybody’s attention and start the wedding with a bang’

Amelia Neath
Wednesday 04 October 2023 18:42 BST
Grandfather accidentally shot his own 12-year-old grandson at wedding, police say

A grandfather shot his own grandson and injured him during a wedding ceremony on Saturday in Nebraska.

While Michael Gardner, 62, claims the shooting of the blank ammunition was accidental, since the handling of the gun was deemed “neglectful,” Mr Gardner was arrested on suspicion of one count of child abuse.

Mr Gardner “decided to gain everybody’s attention and start the wedding with a bang,” Chief Ben Houchin from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said during a news conference on Monday.

According to Mr Houchin, someone had forgotten the wedding rings for the ceremony taking place at Hillside Events in Denton, Nebraska, so it was already 45 minutes late to start and guests started moving around.

In order to gain their attention, Mr Gardner pulled out a Pietta Model 1860 Snub Nose revolver and started to raise it into the air to shoot a blank.

“When he decided to cock back the hammer of this revolver, it slipped and it shot his grandson into the left shoulder causing an injury,” Mr Houchin said.

The officiant allegedly had put black powder into the gun and glued it in; it was the dried glue that police believe injured his 12-year-old grandson who was standing near him, giving him a deep laceration on his shoulder.

“We do not believe Michael intended to hurt his grandchild, but the act was not very smart,” Mr Houchin said, adding that police don’t believe alcohol was involved in the accidental shooting.

A snubnosed revolver was used in the accidental shooting (Wikipedia)

The boy, who came from Odessa, Texas, with his grandfather to the wedding, was taken to two different hospitals where his injuries were treated and deemed “non-life threatening.”

Mr Hochin explained the seriousness of the boy’s injuries and the fact he was playing with the firearm in the first place which landed him with a suspicion of child abuse arrest.

“It’s just kind of neglectful to take a gun out that has blanks and fire it amongst people,” Mr Houchin said. “Playing with firearms, no matter what, [even] if they’re blanks, bad things can certainly happen.”

The Texas grandfather turned himself in on Monday morning after the wedding at the police’s request.

If Mr Gardner is convicted, by Nebraska law he could face up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

He is expected to make a court appearance in the coming days, reports ABC.

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