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

Categories: Crime, Tragedy
wilkinsons.jpeg
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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17 comments
maitiu101
maitiu101

I guess the County Attorney is not a big believer in Self Defense or the Castle Doctrine Law....He's saying with this Charge that....If you are in fear of bodily harm or worse by  your home being broken into...You have NO right to defend yourself or  your family ....and if you end up dead...well that's your problem...but if you choose to act and defend your self and family...You could be charged with a crime!....This charge is ridiculous!....I've read the complaint...The Grandfather did what he could to avoid shooting but when the "Intruder" started to open the patio....He wanted to defend himself and his family...He was obviously scared and just wanted to protect the home and family.... Mistaken Identity can happen but your not there to ask 20 questions...your there to protect and survive an intruder attack....Thankfully the Granddaughter is going to be ok but this charge is pouring salt on the already open wound.....If the Grandfather was a Cop...He would not be charged!....

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

"I don't have my glasses and I'm scared I better shoot randomly what could go wrong?" -idiot with a gun who should go to prison.   Dear idiots, you don't need to solve every problem by shooting someone.  If you are too afraid to act rationally with a gun you aren't responsible enough to have a gun. 

Adam Schenck
Adam Schenck

Good advertisement for guns here. Protect your home! Shoot your granddaughter like a true tough guy!

Alex Browne
Alex Browne

And what if he was out hunting and shot through some brush at what he thought was a deer? You do not shoot at something unless you have your sights on what you intend to shoot and what is beyond it. This person should be charge.

Kenny Peterson
Kenny Peterson

I mean, there certainly isn't any meth problems in that area. Prosecutors have nothing better to do.

Scott Kulzer
Scott Kulzer

Im a strong advocate of the 2A. The reason they are going forth with charges is because he fired into his front door BEFORE the potential intruder even had opened it. Even if his granddaughter had been a big scary killer, he still would be getting charged. You can't shoot people at your front door, no matter the time of day.

Jeremy Shi
Jeremy Shi

Lock that pastor up. Accident or no accident, people need to take responsibility for their actions.

Chris Dahl
Chris Dahl

Agree Jonathon - ridiculous he is being charged at all. The prosecutor needs to back off and drop this case - go put away real criminals.

Jonathon Richter
Jonathon Richter

We should be thankful the girl is alive and that this mistake didnt turn tragic. I don't feel like he should be sentenced to a felony for this mistake, I'm sure his actions nearly leading to the death of his granddaughter is enough.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@maitiu101Minnesota has no castle doctrine law.  Only precedent and prosecutor's discretion.  Unfortunately.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@Alex Browne  While I absolutely agree with you in a hunting scenario, this one is a little different:

1. Deer don't sneak into your house in the middle of the night

2. There is no possibility that a deer may be carrying a weapon and about to kill you with it.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@Chris Dahl You are a crazy person.  If you shoot someone because you are reckless you need to go to jail.

green23
green23

@Jonathon Richter Not going after you personally, Jonathon, but I'd like to point out an interesting phenomenon that is seen here. 

Whenever CP does a story about some white person getting caught doing something stupid, there are always apologists who trot out these same lines:

- "I'm sure they're sorry. Haven't they been punished enough already?"

- "They just made a mistake. We all make mistakes"

"We don't know all of the facts yet. Let's not rush to judgement"

In contrast, if it's a racial minority caught doing something stupid, we are always told that: this person's behaviour is totally indicative of their race, we have to get tough, the law is the law, and this behaviour is probably the tip of the iceberg. In addition, usually there are multiple bizarre punishments and tortures suggested. 

If this same elderly white pastor was driving drunk without his glasses and hit your young daughter, giving her life-long injuries, would you be as sympathetic? 

Again, not going after you personally or accusing you. I'm just inviting you to examine your standards, and possibly others here will notice this interesting pattern. 

I don't see this as a "mistake". He made a conscious decision to act in a reckless manner, much as a drunk who gets behind the wheel gambles that they won't get caught. He acted recklessly even if it had been a burglar, and he undoubtedly would have accepted the accolades for his actions in that case. Now he wants to slither away from responsibility when things didn't turn out as he had planned.


MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@_Joe_   Who ever would have heard of a teenager sneaking out at night.  This is all the fault of the teenage girl and not the idiot with a gun who thought to shoot first and ask questions later huh?   This is why they didn't give Barney Fife any bullets. 

_Joe_
_Joe_

@MicheleBachmann 0% relevant to the comment I made.  Please do not presume to speak for me.

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