LANCASTER COUNTY, Nebraska (KMID/KPEJ)- Ector County Commissioner Michael Gardner, 62, is facing child abuse charges after investigators in Nebraska said he accidentally shot his 12-year-old grandson over the weekend.
In a news conference, Chief Houchin from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to the scene of a shooting at an event center around 5:00 p.m. on September 30. Investigators learned that Gardner was officiating a wedding and tried to get the attention of attendees by firing a blank into the air; Gardener’s hand allegedly slipped as he cocked back the hammer of a revolver, which caused the blank to strike the boy’s shoulder.
Houchin said the blank was created using glue and black powder and that the glue is likely what injured the boy. The 12-year-old, also of Odessa, was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and was later transferred to a hospital in Omaha for further treatment.
Investigators said Gardner turned himself in following the incident.
“Playing with firearms, no matter what, bad things can certainly happen…we do not believe Michael intended to hurt his grandson,” Houchin said.
County Judge Dustin Fawcett released the following statement about the incident:
The Ector County Judge’s office has been made aware of an incident that took place over the weekend regarding Commissioner Mike Gardner. We are glad to hear that all parties involved are safe. At this time, we do not have any information beyond what is publicly available, and our office will continue to monitor for updates. We ask that you join me in praying for Commissioner Gardner and his family.
Commissioner Gardner is expected to make a public statement at 10:00AM on Monday, October 9th in the Ector County Commissioners’ Courtroom located at 1010 E. 8th Street, Odessa, Texas 79761.