By Rachel Kytonen
An 11-year old Braham girl remains in critical condition this week at Hennepin County Medical Center after being accidentally shot by her father on Thursday, April 21.
The Pine County Sheriff’s Office reported that Jesse Montanye and his friend were target shooting outside with a .22-caliber pistol around 5:30 p.m. when the gun malfunctioned. When the gun was brought inside to be repaired it went off, accidently shooting Maddy Montanye in the head.
Pine County Sheriff Robin Cole said the two men were in the living room when the gun discharged, and the girl was seated at the kitchen table playing video games. Other family members were present at the time of the incident, and Maddy was airlifted to HCMC.
“The scene was very chaotic when the deputies arrived on scene,” Cole said. “They administered First Aid until the ambulance arrived, and then the ambulance crew administered First Aid until the helicopter arrived. She was conscious, but in a lot of pain.”
Sheriff Cole said the incident serves as an unfortunate reminder of the need for proper firearm safety.
“The key is this—you have to treat firearms with respect,” Cole said. “When the gun goes off, you can’t take the bullet back. The bullet will go where you pointed, and in this case all the inches and angles aligned up, and the bullet hit this little girl.”
Sheriff Cole has one simple message.
“This should have never happened,” Cole said. “You should never bring a loaded gun into the home. It’s that simple.”
Cole said upon completion of the investigation the results will be presented to the county attorney to determine if charges are merited, but he said right now the primary concern is Maddy’s health.
“At this point, it’s a tragic accident,” Cole said. “From what I understand, in talking with my deputies, everyone has been cooperating with the investigation.”
Sheriff Cole said a .22-caliber pistol is a small handgun, and very common.
A CaringBridge page has been set up and as of Wednesday morning approximately 425 people have signed the guestbook offering well-wishes and their support to the Montanye family, and nearly 10,000 people have visited the page.
Maddy, a fifth-grader in the Braham Area School District, underwent a five-hour surgery on Friday afternoon, April 22, in which surgeons removed two parts of her skull to relieve pressure and to allow her brain to swell without restriction. They also removed the bullet that was lodged in her brain.
A posting on CaringBridge late Sunday evening said doctors weened Maddy from a paralytic called Vecurom, which paralyzes her to allow her body to relax to reduce the pressure in her brain, and to allow her body to start to heal.
“When they did, Maddy responded to pain, her gag reflexes came back and Maddy tried to remove the breathing tube,” was written late Sunday on CaringBridge. “She also is also attempting to initiate breathing, which are all wonderful things.”
As of press time, Maddy remains in a medically-induced coma, but it was noted the pressure in her brain is where the doctors are hoping it remains.
Cards can be mailed to: Hennepin County Medical Center, 701 Park Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN 55415. Attention: Maddy Montanye Pediatric ICU. You can also follow Maddy’s progress at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/MaddyMontanye.