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Man officiating a wedding in Nebraska accidentally shot his 12-year-old grandson during the ceremony, police say

Oct 4, 2023, 5:59 PM

Michael Gardner...

A grandfather who was officiating a wedding in Nebraska is facing charges after accidentally shooting his 12-year-old grandson during the ceremony, officials said. (Lancaster County Sheriff's Office) Dateline: Nebraska

(Lancaster County Sheriff's Office)

(CNN) —A grandfather who was officiating a wedding in Nebraska is facing charges after accidentally shooting his 12-year-old grandson during the ceremony, officials said.

Michael Gardner, 62, was officiating the festivities at Hillcrest Events in Denton around 5 p.m. on Saturday when he attempted to shoot a Pietta Model 1860 Snub Nose revolver loaded with a blank into the air to gain the attention of the wedding guests, according to Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Ben Houchin.

Gardner “decided to gain everybody’s attention and start the wedding with a bang,” Houchin said during a news conference Monday.

“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,” Houchin said.

The 45 COLT ammunition was a blank, but Gardener “put black powder into the casing and then glued it,” the chief deputy added. “And what we believe, is the glue is what injured the child,” he said.

The boy’s injuries were non-life-threatening, and he was taken to a local hospital before being transferred to Omaha for further treatment, Houchin said.

Gardner turned himself in to authorities on Monday and was arrested on a charge of child abuse for neglectable firing of a firearm and injuring someone, Houchin said, noting the use of a firearm and the seriousness of the injuries led to the charge.

CNN was unable to determine whether Houchin has legal representation.

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

Denton is located about 10 miles southwest of Lincoln.

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Man officiating a wedding in Nebraska accidentally shot his 12-year-old grandson during the ceremony, police say