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14-year-old shot during Mich. toilet paper prank

7:58 AM CDT, October 13, 2008

SOLON TOWNSHIP, Mich. - A toilet paper prank has led to the shooting of a 14-year-old by a southwestern Michigan man who believed strangers were trying to break into his home.

The Grand Rapids Press and WZZM-TV report the victim and four other teens were pulling the prank about 1 a.m. Sunday at a home in Solon Township, about 20 miles northeast of Grand Rapids.

Kent County sheriff's Lt. Jerry Miedema says the teens were intent on draping the house in toilet paper, while the homeowner's "intent was to come out shooting."

Police say three shots were fired from a 12-gauge shotgun, striking the 14-year-old in the chest, stomach and leg. He is recovering at a local hospital.

The homeowner was not arrested, but a prosecutor is looking into possible charges.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-mi-odd-toiletpaperpr,0,5190255.story
 

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In TX you can shoot someone during the nighttime for committing criminal mischief like those punks were doing. :? :? :?
 

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That was somewhat big news here. I actually do a lot of hunting in that area. I also work at the hospital the kid was sent to.

The only thing that pisses me off about this is what the deputy said "(homeowner's) intent was to come out shooting." His intent was to protect his property from being stolen. In that same area about 6 months ago, a homeowner shot and killed a burglar in his house and wounded another one.

Also, what this article is lacking, which was in the GR press, was the interview with a neighbor who basically said they know they are in an isolated area and easy targets for burglary, so they keep an eye out for that stuff and are prepared to do what's necessary to stop it. I guess that's what you get for it being a Chicago paper though.
 

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I guess that'll teach the kid to go tping house :lol:

Also, wzzm sucks. I can't stand watching them.
 

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On the front page of the paper today (GR press), it said the guy was being charged with neglegent discharge of a firearm, and if convicted, could serve up to 93 days in jail.

I have a feeling there's gonna be a civil suite in the near future...

If there is actually a trial with jury, I would like to get put on it. I wouldn't convict him, and there would probably be a hung jury in the end.
 

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At least the kids/young adults are being charged with trespassing. Plus, the guy who shot the one kid was handicapped and 60 yds away when he fired. There were over a dozen pellets in the door from a 12 ga. Not sure if he was shooting buck-shot or if that is possible for the # of holes.

Grand Rapids Press:

http://www.mlive.com/grandrapids/stories/index.ssf?/base/news-44/1224767741105060.xml&coll=6

SOLON TOWNSHIP -- With their car still running and headlights left on to better see the bushes they started toilet-papering in the middle of the night, Michael Newville said he and his church friends didn't think they were doing anything wrong to their friend's house with their pre-Halloween prank.

Until it got scary -- and one of them, Zachary VanderArk, 14, got shot.

"We got a third of the bush done, and all of a sudden a shot rang out. It sounded like an M-80. I told everyone to run to the car," recalled Newville, 22.

The prank was a spur-of-the-moment deal for five friends having a sleepover near Cedar Springs.

It was a typical Saturday night for Newville, of Grand Rapids, who said he went to work, then headed to Cedar Springs, where he had to get up at 8 a.m. for Sunday church with the same friends. He declined to name the church.

Believing that a mutual friend's family was out of town, one of the friends in the car said, "Let's go to Matt's house and pull a prank," Newville said. They did not realize their friend's father, 51-year-old Mark Kuncaitis, stayed behind in the Solon Township home.

Kuncaitis, charged Wednesday with the misdemeanor reckless use of a firearm causing injury, said the Oct. 12 shooting was simply a regretful mistake he made out of fear of being robbed and possibly hurt. If convicted, he faces up to two years in jail.

"I'm very sorry. It's very traumatic," he said outside Rockford District Court. "I would never have shot at kids if I had known, not in a million years."

Police allege Kuncaitis fired a 12-gauge shotgun three times in the dark toward people he thought were thieves getting into his unattached garage. They turned out to be Newville and four teens toilet-papering his yard.

A court affidavit names the teens as VanderArk, Ryan Maike, David Rethamel and Christopher Harthorn, 18, with Newville driving everyone to the house. Prosecutors say all are being charged with trespassing, although only Newville had been charged as of Wednesday. He pleaded guilty and was fined $100.

Kuncaitis said the pranksters looked like five men to him. "I feared for my life. I'm a disabled person. There's murders going on all around," he said, earlier telling police he was worried because of recent killings near Conklin and Kent County's Oakfield Township. "I figured they weren't coming to sell Mary Kay."

Newville said he was surprised by the gunshot. He told his friends to run to the car.

Newville guessed they were between 6 and 10 feet from the car, "then a second shot rang out and blew out my window. I didn't know what to think," he said.

"You'd think he'd (Kuncaitis) warn us verbally. We would have dropped everything and cleaned up as well. We pulled out of the drive, and Zack said he felt pain," Newville said.

Kuncaitis told police he fired a warning shot above the car, then fired another to "mark" the car so police could track it down and, finally, fired a third time as it was pulling away. He never saw any toilet paper.

Police say VanderArk was hit by six pellets from the second shot, fired from about 60 yards away, but managed to scramble into the car. The teenager, a freshman at Cedar Springs High School, is recovering at home and expects to return to school next week, a family member said. VanderArk still has some of the pellets in his body, while others were removed at the hospital.

The friends scampered into Newville's 2000 Dodge Neon. The 14-year-old was bleeding from the shotgun pellets that also ripped more than a dozen holes in Newville's passenger door.

Then the third blast came as he drove away, taking out his back window.

"The shots were really close, and we got out of there in less than a minute. We noticed he had two bullets in his side and leg," 18-year-old Christopher Harthorn said of VanderArk.

Newville said his friends, "were really scared, had an adrenaline rush and were freaking out. We were scared about getting out of there alive. It's not every day you get shot at for TP"



"I don't know how I had the concentration to drive. We're all just thankful Zack is still alive. It could have been way worse," Newville said.

He would rather not see anyone criminally charged but said he understands there are consequences.

"I guess we are all at fault for something, but I don't think he had a right to fire shots making contact with Zack."

VanderArk is not holding a grudge. He spent time with Mark Kuncaitis' son last weekend playing video games, Kuncaitis said.

VanderArk's grandmother declined to discuss the family's feelings about the shooting or the charges issued by Forsyth. No one answered the door at the house the teen and his mother share in Algoma Township.

Kent County Prosecutor Bill Forsyth said he thought the charges were fair.

"By all accounts, the homeowner is an upstanding citizen. He's never been in trouble. The kids made a dumb mistake, and he probably overreacted to someone being there at the house," he said.

Forsyth said he considered more serious charges, such as a felony assault charge, but decided against it.
 

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Michael Newville said he and his church friends didn't think they were doing anything wrong
I love how they put in there about "church friends". This is rediculous. If you don't want to get shot, don't do illegal stuff, regardless of how 'innocent' it is. Childish pranks don't excuse people from the law.

I also love how they kid says ""You'd think he'd (Kuncaitis) warn us verbally." Bullsh$t, why would you give up your advantage if you think you are being attacked by 4-5 men? I really wish the media would wake the frak up!

Zhur
 

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I also love how they kid says ""You'd think he'd (Kuncaitis) warn us verbally." Bullsh$t, why would you give up your advantage if you think you are being attacked by 4-5 men? I really wish the media would wake the frak up!

Zhur
Bingo, 4-5 men against one disabled guy. Hmmm, if I were him I would not have given them a warning of any kind either. I hope he is cleared of all charges. He did nothing wrong. If those guys didn't want to get shot they should have stayed off his property and not vandelized it. If they had left him alone, that kid wouldn't have gotten shot. Some lesson in life are painfull, but neccessary.
 

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devildoc said:
Bingo, 4-5 men against one disabled guy. Hmmm, if I were him I would not have given them a warning of any kind either. I hope he is cleared of all charges. He did nothing wrong. If those guys didn't want to get shot they should have stayed off his property and not vandelized it. If they had left him alone, that kid wouldn't have gotten shot. Some lesson in life are painfull, but neccessary.
You needa give the closing arguments at his trial :?
 
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