62-Year-Old Grandfather Accidentally Shoots 12-Year-Old Grandson While Officiating a Wedding in Nebraska

A family wedding in Denton, Nebraska went from being delayed to tragic over the course of a few minutes on Saturday (September 30). The family realized someone had forgotten the rings prior to the start of the ceremony. As a result, the ceremony was put on standby and guests were asked to mingle for a little bit. 

Once they had the rings, it was time to round everyone up so they could start the wedding ceremony. In an effort to get everyone’s attention, Michael Gardner – the 62-year-old grandfather who was officiating the wedding – decided to shoot a blank round out of his Pietta 1860 snub nose revolver and into the air. 

“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,” Chief Deputy Ben Houchin said during a press conference on Monday (October 2). The injury was non-life-threatening, but he was sent to a hospital in Omaha for treatment. 

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Upon further investigation, authorities discovered that the blank round was made out of black powder and glue. They believe it was the glue that injured the 12-year-old grandson, who was outside and in close proximity to his grandfather when the shot was fired. Authorities have the weapon, bullet, and the casing.

Grandfather Turns Himself In Two Days After the Wedding

On Monday (Oct. 2), Gardner turned himself in and he was subsequently arrested on suspicion of felony child abuse – authorities believe the ‘seriousness of the injuries’ and the nature of what happened fit the statute of child abuse. “What the county attorney decides to charge him with is up to him,” Houchin said. 

Join Chief Houchin as he provides details about a child abuse case happening over the weekend.

Posted by Lancaster County Sheriff's Office on Monday, October 2, 2023

Ben Houchin went on to condemn Gardner’s actions that resulted in his grandson’s injury, but confirmed they have no reason to believe that Gardner intended to hurt the 12-year-old – both of whom are from Odessa, Texas – and they also said they don’t believe alcohol played any part in the tragic incident. 

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“It’s just kind of neglectful to take a gun out that has blanks and fire it amongst people. Playing with firearms, no matter what, if they’re blanks, bad things can certainly happen,” Houchin added in the press conference. “We do not believe Michael intended to hurt his grandchild. But the act was not very smart.”

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