Campbell Co. girl wounded by shotgun blast

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Campbell County (WVLT) - An accidental shooting could've taken a Campbell County girl's life, but her brother's quick action saved her.

12-year-old Rebekah Hightower's mother says her son's 20-gauge shotgun went off accidentally. That ruptured an artery in Rebekah's left arm. It happened Monday in the Chaska Area.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy spoke with Rebekah's mother.

She's in stable condition at UT Medical Center. Her mother says that's thanks to what her son did after the gun went off.

The gunshot echoes in Matthew Hightower's mind.

"I thought somebody was dead," Matthew said.

Matthew, his sister Rebekah, and their uncle were getting some target practice in the Chaska area of Campbell County yesterday.

"We'd been teaching them how to use guns. They were very well trained on the safety of guns and about using safety," mother Val Snyder said.

But after the three sat down at a picnic table....

"My daughter jumped up screaming, 'I've been shot," Snyder said.

In the left arm by Matthew's 20-gauge shot gun.

"It's never caused me any problems before this," Matthew said.

The 14-year-old had propped the gun up against a tent. It fell and fired.

"The wind blew it over is all we can figure. We really don't know because things happened so quickly," Snyder said.

The shot ruptured one of the 12-year-old's arteries. She could've bled to death.

"I grabbed my jacket and wrapped it around her arm," Matthew said.

"If he hadn't done what he did, I wouldn't have a daughter. He saved his sister's life," Snyder said.

Rebekah's mother says the accident shows adult supervision with guns just isn't enough.

"My children have been around guns their whole life and accidents can happen to anybody," Snyder said.

Matthew's learned a new gun safety tip.

"Always keep you gun unloaded before laying it down or propping it up against something," Matthew said.

An mishap his quick action kept from getting worse.

"I'm very proud. Very proud," Snyder said. "I'm feeling pretty good."

Because Rebekah's still alive.

Rebekah will have to undergo multiple surgeries. The first is set for Thursday, but doctors already have saved her arm.

No charges are expected to be filed.

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