Archived Story

Benefit set for teen recovering from shotgun accident

Published 8:21am Friday, September 27, 2013

One lucky 16-year-old is alive and recovering after suffering a terrible accident in April.

William Wagner was showing off his uncle’s shotgun to a few friends in his bedroom when an almost-tragic accident happened: He accidentally shot himself in the face, according to his mother, Suzie Wagner.

“These things happen so quickly,” Suzie said.

Suzie was downstairs when the accident happened. While she doesn’t remember hearing the gunshot, she remembers William running downstairs and the events that happened after — 911 calls, an ambulance taking William away, police cordoning off the house and questioning her, as they investigated a potential crime scene.

Yet Suzie is thankful the scariest part, trying to figure out whether he would survive, eventually passed.

“That first day and a half, all I could do was cling to his picture and listen to his surgeon,” she said. “And then when he opened his eyes, I just knew he was going to be OK.”

Several months after his accident, William is getting back into a normal routine. He has dealt with five surgeries to repair his jaw thus far, and will likely have at least one more surgery to properly heal. He has gone off a feeding tube and is working his way through online classes, in hopes of rejoining his friends at Austin High School in January at the earliest.

For William, the accident was a fluke. He had grown up around guns and was even part of the Austin High School trap shooting team this past spring, according to Suzie.

“He has a great respect for guns,” she said. “When you put [the accident] in the perspective of ‘he’s a teenage boy,’ it’s a little easier to understand.”

Suzie also believes his grandparents, who died in the fall of 2012, may have helped William from beyond the grave. When William stayed at the hospital, all he wanted was a picture of his grandparents and a shell he collected from the 21-gun salute given during his grandfather’s funeral, as his grandfather was a veteran.

“I have a feeling that they had a bit of a hand in it too,” Suzie said.

A golf benefit for William is set for noon on Saturday, Oct. 5 at Meadow Greens Golf Course in Austin. A four-person scramble will take place including 18 holes of golf with a cart, range balls and a meal. The cost to participate is $60 per person, and donations can also be made to the William Wagner Benefit Fund at Accentra Credit Union, at 400 Fourth Ave. Northeast in Austin.


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