Three teens found out first hand that an air rifle is not a toy when one aimed a pellet gun at another’s spine, pulled the trigger, and left him instantly without feeling below the waist.
The incident occurred in Shelbyville, Tennessee earlier this week and resulted in one teen being charged with aggravated assault and another fighting to regain the ability to walk.
As reported by WSMV, Javier Castillo, 18, of King Arthur Trailer Park was sitting around with two of his friends when he picked up an air rifle he believed to be unloaded, pointed the gun at Kyle Lee Burnett, and pulled the trigger.
“He told me he was just going to point it at Kyle and aim at him through the scope, but he somehow pulled the trigger,” Shelbyville Police officer Tory Moore noted in his report. “He said he was just messing around and did not mean to shoot his friend.”
The air rifle used in the accident, an Ignite Black Ops Tactical Sniper, fires a .177 pellet at velocities of up to 1,000fps.
Black Ops notes on its website that, “Safety is the top priority when handling, transporting, storing, and shooting air guns,” and cautions its users to only point an air rifle in a safe direction and always act as if it were loaded.
Burnett was rushed to the hospital after being struck in the spine. As of Wednesday, he is reportedly able to move his right foot slightly but doctors caution “the outlook isn’t good.”
Castillo has been freed on a $50,000 bond for his role in the shooting which authorities caution could have been avoided.
“You need to be responsible for weapons of that nature,” Shelbyville Police Chief Jan Phillips said. “It’s capable of injuring someone permanently for the rest of their life.”