Stanley Wilkinson, Rochester pastor, faces felony for accidentally shooting granddaughter

Stanley Wilkinson (left), and his granddaughter, Paige (right).
Stanley Wilkinson (left), and his granddaughter, Paige (right).

Around 11:30 p.m. on December 10, 16-year-old Paige Wilkinson was trying to sneak back into her grandparents's house when her grandfather -- 61-year-old Rochester Seventh-Day Adventist Church pastor Stanley Wilkinson -- mistook her for an intruder and fired two shots at her. The second one hit her in the upper torso, nearly killing her.

SEE ALSO: Byron Smith murder case: Was he under threat of great harm when he shot teenagers?

More than a month later, Wilkinson has been charged with a felony count of intentional discharge of a firearm under circumstances that endanger the safety of another. He could spend up to five years in prison.

Citing the charging document, a Fox 9 report details the circumstances of the shooting:

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...

Wilkinson told police he had been on edge due to a recent break-in nearby.

Stanley Wilkinson also told police he couldn't see well without his glasses.

And the Star Tribune describes how the incident unfolded from Paige's perspective:

Before the tragedy unfurled, the granddaughter had gone to her room after coming home at about 9 p.m. that night, she told police in an interview Dec. 20. An hour later, she left the house without telling her grandparents so she could meet up with a couple of friends. As she tried to sneak back into the house an hour later, she noticed the light in her grandparents' bedroom was on so she tried to be quiet. But the snow crunched, she said.

Standing on the deck, her iPhone illuminated, she saw the living room lights go on, then off. She looked through the sliding-door glass, figuring that her grandparents knew she was gone and were waiting for her. As she peered through the glass, she heard the shots and saw a flash.

Wilkinson began rescue breathing. According to the 911 transcripts, the pastor's wife begged for help in saving her granddaughter. "She's bleeding, bleeding bad!" she tells the dispatcher. "Please save her!"

Minnesota law stipulates that firing on an intruder is legally warranted if the shooter has a reasonable belief that doing so will prevent a felony from occurring in their home, so charging Pastor Wilkinson with a felony indicates prosecutors don't believe that standard was met when he opened fire and tragically shot his granddaughter.

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