Charges filed in shooting incident

Man, 18, accused in case

girl, 16, still hospitalized

Reckless endangerment alleged

Western Howard

August 05, 2004|By Larry Carson and Lisa Goldberg | Larry Carson and Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

Howard County police have filed charges against an 18-year- old Woodbine man accused of accidentally shooting a 16-year- old girl with a pistol he removed from his father's safe, according to court documents.

Benjamin Mark Allen was charged with reckless endangerment and discharging a .22-caliber revolver in the July 6 incident, which injured Katie L. Weyer of Dayton.

Weyer and two other teens were visiting Allen's home in the 800 block of Iron Rail Court for a pool party.

The shooting followed an unsuccessful attempt to concoct homemade explosives to blow up a bleach bottle in a field behind the house, the documents said.

Allen was served with charging papers July 19, police said. The case is scheduled for trial Sept. 9 in Howard District Court.

Weyer, who was immediately taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, remains a patient there, according to her mother, Susan Weyer. Although doctors hoped to discharge her about a week and a half after the shooting, Katie Weyer, a rising senior at Glenelg High School, suffered a major setback and continues to struggle to recover from serious injuries that have affected her lungs, her mother said.

"It's just unbelievable how much damage one .22-caliber bullet can do," said Susan Weyer, who added that the family has been on "an emotional roller coaster."

"She had to literally fight for her life," Susan Weyer said, "and continues to do so."

Allen's family and his attorney, Gary Wiessner, declined to comment.

Explosives experiment

According to a police description of the incident, the teens drove in Allen's Jeep to a field behind the house after swimming to see if they could make homemade explosives to blow up a bleach bottle.

When that failed, the boys talked about getting the gun from Allen's house to shoot the bleach bottle, and they drove back to retrieve it.

Weyer used a bathroom across the hall from the home office to change clothes while Allen and another member of the group opened the safe, according to the charging documents.

Allen was holding the pistol and a box of ammunition as Weyer began to walk out of the bathroom, police said.

When Weyer reportedly warned Allen that he shouldn't play with guns, he jokingly replied, "Oh, really?" and pointed the weapon toward her and pulled the trigger, according to the documents.

Called for help

The bullet hit the girl, who Allen said was about 7 feet away, in the right chest area. Allen told police he thought the gun was not loaded and said he didn't try to aim at Weyer, police said. He immediately called for emergency help.

Susan Weyer said she is thankful that the teens acted quickly, calling 911 and putting pressure on the wound.

But she said she still doesn't know when her daughter will be released from the hospital.

She said she is hoping her daughter's ordeal will stop others from playing with guns.

"My feeling is, at 18 years old you know not to point a gun," she said. "It's just something you don't do."

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