Authorities in Oregon are considering whether to charge an off-duty security guard who accidentally shot and killed his girlfriend’s 9-year-old daughter while practicing drawing his weapon.
Oregon City police spokesperson Lt. Jim Band said that 32-year-old Joseph Wade Wolters was at home on Sunday prepping for his new job as an armed security guard by holstering and unholstering a loaded weapon. Fourth grader Shayla May Shonneker was about 50 yards away when the gun discharged, sending a bullet through a wall and striking the girl in the face while she was playing outside.
The girl was later pronounced dead after being rushed to Oregon Health & Science University Hospital by LifeFlight helicopter.
According to KPTV, Wolters is currently a member of the military reserves, and received about 10 medals while serving in Iraq. Band said that he had been mistakenly arrested in 2007 after being declared absent without leave from the U.S. Army because of a mixup.
John Wetten Elementary School, where Shayla Shonneker was a student, activated its crisis-response team on Monday to help both students and adults cope with the tragedy.
“Many people on our staff were highly impacted by the news because of the close relationships they establish with the students,” Gladstone School District Superintendent Bob Stewart told The Oregonian. “We have made counselors available for anyone who wants to talk this over.”
In the wake of a December mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has called for “armed security” in every school.
“The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said in December.
Watch the video below from KPTV, broadcast April 15, 2013.
Watch the video below from KREM, broadcast April 15, 2013.