West Palm Beach mom sues air rifle maker over son’s head injuries

The mother of a West Palm Beach teen is suing a leading air rifle manufacturer for devastating injuries she says her son sustained when he accidentally shot himself in the head four years ago.

Since the July 2014 accident, Antonio Young has undergone several operations to remove the pellet from his head, attorney Sekou Gary said in the lawsuit filed this month in Palm Beach County Circuit Court. The suit was filed on behalf of Young’s mother, Charkata Anderson.

“He was hospitalized for over 23 days, underwent months of rehabilitation, and is still being treated for injuries associated with the gunshot wound to his head,” the Stuart attorney wrote. Physically deformed from the surgeries and unable to participate in his favorite activities, Young has sunk into depression and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, he wrote.

Gary claims the safety on Young’s Umarex Ruger Air Magnum .177 pellet rifle failed. Although the air rifle was in “safety mode” it discharged a pellet. Young was shot in the head at close range, he said.

He is accusing Arkansas-based Umarex USA of negligence. It knowingly put a “dangerous and defective” product on the market, he said. “The air rifle was inherently dangerous and was not reasonably crashworthy when used in a reasonably foreseeable manner by consumers such as Young,” he wrote.

Company officials weren’t immediately available for comment. On its web site, the company warns that the guns aren’t toys. “Responsible adult supervision is required,” it cautions. “Misuse or careless use may cause serious injury or death.”

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