Rochester, Minn. pastor charged after shooting granddaughter - KMSP-TV

Rochester, Minn. pastor charged after shooting granddaughter

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KMSP) -

A Rochester, Minn.  pastor is charged with a felony for shooting and wounding his granddaughter after mistaking her for an intruder last month.

Stanley Wilkinson, 61, is charged with intentional discharge of a firearm that endangered safety. A court appearance is scheduled Feb. 25.

According to the charges, Wilkinson grabbed his pistol and told his wife to call police after hearing a noise outside his house on the evening of Dec. 10. He said he turned the lights on and off to signal that someone was home, and didn't fire a shot until he saw someone trying to open the patio door.

Wilkinson fired two shots, at which point he heard his 16-year-old granddaughter yell, "Poppa!" The victim, identified by friends as Paige Wilkinson, spent days in critical condition at St. Mary's hospital. 

According to the charges, Wilkinson believed his granddaughter was sleeping upstairs, but the 911 transcripts revealed that she had gone out onto the patio to smoke.

The teen had been living with her grandparents. She told police she left the house without her grandparents knowing.

Wilkinson told police he had been on edge due to a recent break-in nearby. Authorities said he was distraught following the shooting.

While some might argue that Wilkinson has been through enough agony without the charge, Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem says the revived gun debate played no part in the decision to prosecute. Instead, he says it's a case of a legal gun owner who admitted pulling the trigger without knowing his target.

"He says he didn't have his glasses on. He says he didn't know who was there. It could have been law enforcement back there," explained Ostrem. "It could have been anybody back there, and he intentionally discharged his firearm."

According to the criminal complaint, Wilkinson admitted that he did not say or yell anything before firing his 9mm handgun, saying he "'just freaked' and fired his gun twice."

Wilkinson told police he heard footsteps in the snow and could see someone outside; however, Ostrem said he made no effort to find out who it was before opening fire.

Ostrem likens the case to hunters who shoot at noises and end up striking other hunters.

Wilkinson is pastor at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Rochester. Calls left for him were not immediately returned.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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