A Texas man is facing a felony child abuse charge after he accidentally shot his 12-year-old grandson with a blank during a wedding ceremony.
Michael Gardner, 62, from Odessa, was the officiant for a wedding near Denton, Nebraska, that incorporated the use of a firearm as part of the nuptials.
The young relative suffered a non life-threatening injury when Gardner fired the shot in the air to herald the bride's entrance.
Lancaster Chief Deputy Ben Houchin told reporters the officiant had “decided to gain everybody’s attention and start the wedding with a bang" by shooting a blank with a snubnosed Pietta revolver.
As a bride was preparing to walk down the aisle in Nebraska, the wedding officiant - an elected official - unintentionally shot his 12-year-old grandson in the shoulder.\n\nDespite the shooting, he finished officiating the wedding. \ud83d\ude35\u200d\ud83d\udcab https://t.co/8zX9UhcprJ— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts) 1696458929
“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.”
You can see the Deputy's briefing, shared on Facebook, here.
The boy was taken to a local hospital and was transported to Omaha for "further treatment."
Houchin said Gardner turned himself in at an adult correctional facility and was charged with a child abuse felony for his negligence in using the firearm and subsequently causing injury to his grandson.
Michael Gardner, Ector County Commissioner, has been arrested for shooting a 12-year-old at a wedding ceremony he was officiating. He told police he fired a shot into the air to \u201cget the attention of the wedding guests\u201d when the gun slipped and went off. https://t.co/3AK5ny91qg— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts) 1696491955
Houchin confirmed it was a blank that injured the victim as he pulled out the firearm in close proximity.
"It was a 45 colt ammunition," said Houchin, adding, "What he did was put black powder into the casing and then glued it."
"And what we believe is the glue is what injured the child."
@shannonrwatts @lindhays— Don't call me Shirley \ud83c\udf3b\ud83d\ude33\ud83e\udd26\u200d\u2640\ufe0f (@Don't call me Shirley \ud83c\udf3b\ud83d\ude33\ud83e\udd26\u200d\u2640\ufe0f) 1696469813
The Deputy stressed that playing with weapons, even through the use of blanks, can result in serious consequences.
People on X (formerly Twitter) had plenty to say about the "shotgun wedding."
@shannonrwatts @sar_oso I read this headline to my wife. \n\nWife - Why did he have a gun\nMe - I guess in case someone came in & shot up the wedding\nWife - But he did\nMe - America!— craven_carpenter (@craven_carpenter) 1696463541
@shannonrwatts Our well regulated militia hard at work. \ud83d\ude44— Jazzmom 2.0 \ud83e\udee4 (@Jazzmom 2.0 \ud83e\udee4) 1696459518
@shannonrwatts When you think nothing will surprise you anymore...— Steven Stowers (@Steven Stowers) 1696466368
@shannonrwatts Times were better when a shotgun wedding was just a metaphor.— David Darmofal (@David Darmofal) 1696461485
@shannonrwatts And we're circling the drain.— Chimelle \ud83d\udc99\ud83d\udc9b\ud83c\udf3b\ud83d\udfe7 (@Chimelle \ud83d\udc99\ud83d\udc9b\ud83c\udf3b\ud83d\udfe7) 1696461192
@shannonrwatts All they prattle on about is responsible gun ownership, and yet they treat them as toys.— Matt Grist (@Matt Grist) 1696493050
The deputy clarified that Gardner had no intention of harming his grandchild but maintained that "the act was not very smart" and added that alcohol consumption was not involved in the incident.
While the shooting involved no malicious intent, Gardner turned himself in and was arrested because of the neglectful use of a firearm at the venue.
The felony charge was at the discretion of the county attorney.
Houchin concluded that the public was not in any danger because the incident was purely accidental.