NORTH COVENTRY TWP., Pa. - Family and friends of an 8 year-old boy, shot while riding his bicycle, are reacting to news that a neighbor is now charged.
"It just was probably the worst feeling ever," said Teresia Grim, the victim's aunt. "I just don't know how to explain it."
The shooting happened Friday afternoon in North Coventry Township, Chester County. Police said A.J. Hagner was riding his bike with a friend when a single gunshot went through his thigh. Medics airlifted the second grader to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He came home Saturday night.
"It's very scary," said neighbor Amy Vincent. "My kids are sitting out on the front porch playing like they do every day."
Wayne Snowden, 55, is now charged with aggravated assault and related charges. North Coventry Police said Snowden was drunk and fired his handgun randomly from his front porch.
"I want to reassure the community that the victim in this case was not specifically targeted, this was a case of irresponsible gun handling in its most tragic form," said police chief Robert Schurr.
Just hours after the shooting, an angry Snowden told reporters he knew nothing about the shooting.
"Only thing I heard was, like, a pop," he said Friday night.
The victim's aunt said she didn't even know the suspect.
"I've never even seen him out of his house," said Grim. "Never even seen the guy before."
Snowden told police he actually has a shooting range in his basement, according to court papers.
"It's actual shock and outrage that he would have a shooting range in a house that he doesn't own," said one neighbor.
As for A.J. Hagner, police said the bullet barely missed a vital artery.
"When we got here and realized he was being Medivaced out, I think that's when it was like, this was an actual gunshot and not like a BB gun or something like that," said Grim.
The boy's homecoming was a relief for the whole neighborhood.
"They all ran to him and hugged him and just were so glad to see him back here and home," said neighbor and family friend Christine Fry.
69 News did some digging into Wayne Snowden's past. Other than a DUI charge almost 30 years ago, he's only got a few traffic tickets.
Snowden remains in jail under $75,000 bond. His next court appearance is set for Thursday.
Allentown, PA 18102