Teen paralyzed in pellet gun accident - WSMV News 4

Teen paralyzed in pellet gun accident

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Javier Castillo Javier Castillo
SHELBYVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Three teens were playing with a pellet gun when one ended up paralyzed from the waist down in what police called a freak accident.

Police said Javier Castillo was sitting around with two of his best friends playing with the pellet gun.

"You need to be responsible for weapons of that nature," Shelbyville Police Chief Jan Phillips said. "It's capable of injuring someone permanently for the rest of their life."

Police said Castillo looked through the scope, pointed at his friend's back and pulled the trigger, thinking the safety was on.

It wasn't.

"And it struck him in the spine," Phillips said.

Kyle Burnett, an 18-year-old high school senior, immediately lost feeling from the waist down. He was flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Wednesday morning, Burnett managed to move his right foot a little, but doctors are unable to remove the pellet and said the outlook isn't good.

"They were playing around, joking, and it may cost this guy to be paralyzed for the rest of his life," Phillips said.

The pellet gun is modeled after a real rifle. Police said even the most trained eye would have trouble telling the difference at first glance.

"It's a dangerous situation for officers to go up on a scene like that," Phillips said.

Burnett remained hospitalized on Wednesday. His father told Channel 4 he was too shocked and emotional to appear on camera.

Police charged Castillo with aggravated assault. He has since bonded out of jail.

Phillips said this accident between friends should serve as a reminder to others.

"It's just sort of a senseless thing," Phillips said. "I mean, people have got to be careful no matter what weapons you have. It's not something to play with."

Pellet guns are legal and do not require a license, permit or any type of registration. There is also no age limit.

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