The sound of his three-year-old granddaughter screaming in pain is one Gary Van Ness says he’ll never forget, or forgive himself for.
Standing outside his home in West Columbia, Texas Mr Van Ness said he was aiming his shotgun at a stray cat, one of many that had recently overtaken his neighbourhood, when he fired a single shot that ran into the woods.
Unknown to him until just seconds after, was that his granddaughter and her father were standing directly in his bullet’s path.
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Never forget: Gary Van Ness, seen holding his granddaughter Brianna, recounts the moment he mistakenly fired his shotgun into the woods, hitting the three-year-old
Mistake: Brianna’s grandfather was shooting at a stray cat, one of many he said that had recently overtaken his neighbourhood, when he hit her in the leg
‘I heard her hollering and I heard her daddy hollering,’ Mr Van Ness told WDAF of the immediate moments after.
‘It’s going to bother me the rest of my life,’ he said.
Quickly scooping up Brianna, who had a wound going through her left leg from the .22 calibre shotgun, the two men rushed her to a local hospital.
‘Thank God it wasn’t any worse than what it was,’ the grandfather said of her injury.
Injury: The bullet passed around her left knee, requiring surgery and several stitches which she hides under this band aid she playfully now tugs at
Recovery: The toddler is seen climbing her home’s porch stairs, well recovered while telling her grandfather he deserves a spanking
Released with a few stitches and a large band aid across her knee – one she now playfully tugs at – in the days since she’s been seen as active as ever around their home.
Mr Van Ness adds Brianna having just as much spunk as well.
‘When I went back yesterday [I hear], “I’m gonna spank your butt pawpaw.’ he laughs of his granddaughter’s threat. ‘I said OK, I’ll even furnish the belt.’
No charges against Mr Van Ness are expected with the incident considered an accident.
Fox reports child protective services working with the family to help make the home safer and the grandfather vowing to use traps to catch the cats in the future rather than shooting them.