Shooting not yet ruled an accident

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

From staff reports

A Cornersville woman suffered a gunshot wound Sunday afternoon at a Bicentennial Street home in the vicinity of where a father and son were practice shooting with a .45-caliber pistol, according to Marshall County Sheriff Norman Dalton.

However, until Sheriff's Detective Bob Johnson concludes his investigation, Lauren Beard's shoulder wound can't be described to be a result of an accident, officials said. It might appear that way, but Johnson has insisted that no such description is appropriate yet.

Still, the circumstances, as described by the sheriff on the morning after Beard's surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, tend to indicate there was no intent to shoot the 23-year-old woman.

"A man's son was target practicing outside ... with a .45-caliber pistol," Dalton said Monday morning, relying on reports from his staff.

Johnson declined to identify the man and son since his investigation was incomplete.

The woman and the target practice were in the municipality and separated by several hundred yards, he said. There's also a hill between the two places.

Beard called her father who drove her to the ambulance station in Cornersville and she was flown by helicopter ambulance to Vanderbilt, according to people close to the situation.

"It's possible that charges might be forthcoming," Dalton said Monday, "but the investigation is still on-going."

Tuesday afternoon the sheriff had not been advised any differently by Johnson who was in court on another case.

Dalton also anticipated that the detective would consult with the District Attorney's office for guidance on what steps to take.

The father and son had a board set up as a target, the sheriff said.

"It appears to be accidental," Dalton said Tuesday.

Tribune news staffers Karen Hall and Clint Confehr collaborated on this story.