MILLINGTON, Tenn. — A mother is fighting for her life after she was accidentally shot by her 8-year-old son outside a baseball game Tuesday, and neighbors of the man police have charged say they are shocked.
The owner of that gun, Charles McFarland, veteran from Atoka, Tennessee, is now out of jail on bond.
Vintage military vehicles still outside the USA Stadium in Millington where Tuesday night's accidental shooting happened. An 8-year-old boy found an unsecured pistol lying in a canvas bag inside one of the World War II-era vehicles.
"The juvenile believed it was a toy gun. He picked the gun up. Pulled the trigger and accidentally shot his mother," Millington Police Chief Mark Dunbar said.
A vintage Jeep, with what appears to be a dummy grenade on the floor, was one of several military vehicles brought to the stadium by the Mid-South chapter of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association.
McFarland, who's listed as president of the group, is charged with reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon after it was learned he owned the weapon.
The 76-year-old, who operates the Mid-South Military Museum in Atoka, is known to his neighbors as an all-around nice guy.
"He's never cause any trouble here, since I've been living here, so I'm really shocked as to what happened yesterday," neighbor Daniela Martinez said. "You know, accidents happen in seconds."
Neighbor Destin Hill says he's know McFarland for a number of years and said he has a reputation for practicing safety with firearms.
"Everyone pretty much knows Mr. McFarland," Hill said. "And then once it set in that it actually happened, I was like, 'This is a horrible accident, this is a horrible mistake. ... He might have just simply forgotten he had it there."
There were several vehicles at McFarland's property Wednesday and we could see a vintage military truck and part of helicopter, but when we tried to get someone to talk about what happened we were told to leave.
Police say there's a lesson to be learned.
"If you've got a vehicle there and you've got a bag that's unsecured and there's a weapon in it, you don't leave that weapon in that bag," Dunbar said.
McFarland is due in court next week.
The mom who was shot has not been identified, but police said Wednesday she is in critical condition.
Police are still investigating.