Parents could be charged after son accidentally shoots friend with rifle



SOUTH DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Two Volusia County parents could soon face criminal charges after authorities said a 13-year-old boy was able to get his hands on a gun and accidentally shoot his friend.

Investigators said the boys were looking at a loaded rifle at a home on Lemon Road in South Daytona Beach when it fired, hitting the teen in the elbow.

Police said the victim's surgery was successful on Monday, but they're not releasing the boy's name.

Jeremy and Holly Hardy weren't home Saturday night when their son took the loaded rifle from the master bedroom.

South Daytona police plan to send a charging affidavit to prosecutors later this week and let them decide what charges if any to file against the Hardys.

The rifle blast rang out at their home just before 9:30 p.m. but no one in the neighborhood heard the shot, authorities said.

Police said the boys called their parents claiming a BB gun went off, but when the victim got to the hospital, the medical personnel discovered otherwise and called police.

"It's just a tough situation," said neighbor Karah Poulin. "We know them. They're very good people and we hate to see anything bad or negative happen, so we hope everything turns out OK for them."

Neighbors described the Hardy's son as mischievous but not dangerous.

Police said the parents of the boy who was shot are friends of the Hardys and don't want to prosecute, but police are moving forward with the case anyway.

Police said there was another young child in the house when the rifle went off and there were other guns in the unsecured gun rack.

Police have notified the Department of Children and Families.

"It's just one of those situations that shows the dangers of an unsecured gun in a home when children are present," said police spokeswoman Jeanne Willard. "It could lead to tragic circumstances."

The shooting victim was expected to be released from the hospital sometime Monday.