Officials have announced that a grandfather who was performing the duties of a wedding officiant in Nebraska has been charged after mistakenly shooting his 12-year-old grandson during the ceremony.

Michael Gardner
Michael Gardner

A Family Wedding

At around 5 p.m. on Saturday, Michael Gardner, 62, was overseeing the celebrations at Hillcrest Events in Denton. In an effort to grab the attention of the wedding guests, he tried firing a blank from a Pietta Model 1860 Snub Nose revolver into the air, as per Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Ben Houchin.

Pietta 1860 Army Snub Nose
Pietta 1860 Snub Nose Revolver

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

Accidently Shot The Young Boy

“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.

Gardner had taken the 45 COLT ammunition and transformed it from a blank into a potentially dangerous object. The chief deputy explained that Gardner added black powder into the casing and secured it with glue. It seems that the glue was what caused harm to the young child. Luckily, the boy's injuries were not severe enough to be life-threatening, and he received medical attention locally before being transported to Omaha for additional care, as stated by Houchin.

Surrendering Himself

On Monday, Gardner surrendered himself to authorities and was taken into custody for committing child abuse through recklessly firing a gun and causing injury to an individual. The charge was elevated due to the severity of the harm inflicted and the utilization of a firearm.

“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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