A pastor has been charged with a misdemeanor weapons offense after his 2-year-old son was accidentally shot in the head by his sibling in the parking lot of their church in Morganton, N.C. His injured son is recovering well and recently returned home.
Adam Vines, 29, was charged with failure to store a firearm to protect minors on Monday, according to a press release from the Burke County Sheriff’s Office. On Oct. 15, Vines’ son was shot when his other son, who is three years old, found the gun in the rear of his van and accidentally fired it, The Roys Reported (TRR) previously reported.
North Carolina law requires anyone who owns a firearm and lives with a minor to ensure the weapon can’t be accessed by the child. Failure to do so results in a misdemeanor offense. If convicted, Vines could face up to 45 days of “community punishment,” according to state law.
Vines “should have known that a minor would be able to gain access to the firearm,” according to court documents obtained by WSOC-TV. The documents also allege that the gun was left unsecured in the vehicle.
The shooting occurred after the evening service let out at the church on Oct. 15, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office announced in a statement on Facebook. Witnesses reported hearing a single shot fired inside a car in the parking lot.
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The toddler, whose name is Daniel, was then airlifted to a hospital in Charlotte with life-threatening injuries after the shooting, where he underwent surgery. At the time, his father reported that the bullet had not hit the boy’s brain.
Daniel was later transferred to Levine Children’s Hospital for physical therapy. He is recovering well and returned home this Sunday, WSOCT-TV reported. The child even attended a service at River Valley Baptist Church in Morganton, where his father is pastor.
“Daniel is doing wonderful. Just so thankful to be home,” Vines shared with WSOC-TV. “As far as the charge is concerned, all I can say is to God be the glory. It could have been worse, but the Lord watched over us all.”
Church members, such as Joan McClellan, have daily prayed for Daniel’s recovery over the last month.
“We know what the Lord done for that young one. It’s a miracle,” McClellan told the local news outlet. “We had a miracle and that little boy came through.”
When asked what she thought of Vines’ recent charge, McClellan said, “He’s been through enough,” and added, “The devil has pushed him in every which way he can. Let that go. That’s the way I feel about it.”
Kevin Barlow, who lives next door to the church, heard the gunshot and screaming coming from the parking lot on the night of the shooting. Barlow said he doesn’t think Vines should go to jail — the accident has done enough to make him aware of how secure he needs to keep his firearm.
Barlow is simply grateful for the boy’s recovery. He and his wife stayed up most of the night praying for the Vines after the incident.
“God’s a miracle-working God,” he said. “I’m thankful for it, ‘cause I know they are.”
Vines is set to appear in court on Jan. 5. Police report that the investigation is still ongoing.
Freelance journalist Liz Lykins writes for WORLD Magazine, Christianity Today, Ministry Watch, and other publications.