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TX Republican Official Shoots Grandson With Blank At Wedding

A man officiating his nephew's wedding in Nebraska who accidentally shot his 12-year-old grandson in the shoulder with a homemade blank has been charged with felony child abuse committed negligently and resulting in serious bodily injury, the Washington Post reports. Michael Gardner, an elected Republican official who has served as a commissioner in Ector County, Texas, since 2021, turned himself in on Monday and was released on a $10,000 bond. Despite the shooting, Gardner finished officiating the wedding. Gardner said he regretted using a homemade blank; it was the first time he had done so. He acknowledged that the gun did not belong to him and that he had not used the firearm before it was accidentally discharged. “It’s hard knowing you hurt somebody that you love more than life,” said Gardner, 62, of Odessa, Tex. “Common sense would tell you that you don’t carry a gun around with a blank in it, and that it would do you no good. But the gun was part of the wedding, and it was going to be used to summon the bride.”

Gardner was arraigned on Tuesday and his next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 3. More charges are expected to be brought against him. Questions surrounding the shooting have followed Gardner back to West Texas, where Ector County Judge Dustin Fawcett said he “has been made aware of an incident that took place over the weekend regarding Commissioner Mike Gardner.” After Gardner’s grandson walked a flower girl down the aisle, the 12-year-old took his place by his grandfather, Gardner said. That’s when Gardner pulled out the revolver. “I removed the gun and the gun misfired on the way up,” he recalled. “I don’t know exactly what happened at that point.”


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