Howard girl, 17, in hospital after accidental shooting in home

An 18-year-old playing with a handgun he grabbed out of his father's safe accidentally shot a teenage girl yesterday afternoon in his Woodbine home, Howard County police said.

The girl, 17, was standing in a first-floor bathroom when she was hit in the chest by a single bullet from the small-caliber gun fired accidentally by Benjamin M. Allen, said Pfc. Richard Malcolm, a Howard police spokesman.


Allen had taken out the gun to show the girl and three 18-year-old friends who had entered the house after swimming in a pool on the property, Malcolm said.

Police were dispatched to the house in the 800 block of Iron Rail Court at 4:28 p.m. in response to a 911 call reporting the shooting, the spokesman said.


Police said Allen appeared to have accidentally discharged the gun while standing in the home's office, where the safe was. The bathroom where the girl was standing is across the hall from the office, police said.

The victim - Katie L. Weyer of the 14000 block of Howard Road in Dayton - was reported in serious condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Malcolm said the girl told police that she thought the shooting was unintentional.

Malcolm said Allen knew how to open the electronic safe. He "began to play with the handgun ... and a round struck the girl in the chest," he said.

Investigators interviewed Allen at his home. No charges have been filed against him or his parents, Malcolm said. He said the father wouldn't be charged because he had locked the gun in a safe.