Texas wedding officiant arrested after accidentally shooting grandson during wedding ceremony

A joyous wedding celebration in Nebraska took an unexpected turn when the wedding efficient accidentally shot his grandson in the shoulder after attempting to get wedding attendees to pay attention.

The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said that 62-year-old Michael Gardner, from Odessa, Texas, had traveled to Nebraska to officiate a wedding Friday. During the ceremony, Gardner was carrying a Pietta model 1860 snub nose revolver and decided to fire a “blank” round from the handgun into the air to gather the attention of the wedding guests. 

Michael Gardner

Michael Gardner accidentally shot his 12-year-old grandson at a wedding he was officiating Friday in Nebraska. (Lancaster County Department of Corrections)

However, the gun discharged, and the blank hit his 12-year-old grandson in his left shoulder. 

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Wedding guests immediately called local police and first responders began to treat the boy, who had a deep laceration in the left shoulder. He was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, police said. 

Police said that an initial investigation in Gardner’s revolver revealed homemade “blank” rounds, consisting of black powder and glue, in the cylinder. They also found a discharged .45 Colt casing chambered in the revolver.

Wedding gifts arranged on gift table.

Wedding guests immediately called local police after a man discharged a gun during a Nebraska wedding. (iStock)

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On Monday, Gardner turned himself in at the Adult Correctional Facility. Authorities said he is facing a charge of child abuse for negligently firing a firearm and causing an injury. FOX 7 said that he faces up to three years in person and/or a $10,000 fine if convicted. 

Chief Houchin from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said that while the grandfather did not intentionally hurt his grandson, “the act was not very smart.”

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“Just another example that playing with firearms, no matter what, even if they’re blanks, bad things can certainly happen,” Houchin said in a statement to FOX Television Stations. “We do not believe Michael intended to hurt his grandchild, but the act was not very smart.”

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