Payson Teen Loses Game Of Russian Roulette

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by Mike Burkett

roundup staff reporter

Although a 16-year-old Payson boy lost a round of Russian roulette early Tuesday morning, he's still one lucky teenager having suffered a mouth wound characterized as "not much" by his father.

"Alcohol was one factor, stupidity was another factor," Det. George Ratliff of the Gila County Sheriff's Department. The incident took place at 2 a.m. Tuesday, at the Gisela home of an unidentified 20-year-old male. The .22-caliber gun used in the "game" belonged to the homeowners.

"The case is still under investigation, but the story that we have so far is that the boy was playing Russian roulette with three friends and (the gun) went off in his chamber," Ratliff said.

The chamber had been loaded with "snakeshot" BB-like pellets slightly larger than those found in birdshot.

"I never saw the (victim)," Ratliff said. "An ambulance took him over to the community center near Tonto Creek Shores, and he was air-evacuated to Scottsdale Osborn hospital immediately before I could even get there."

"It was not much of a wound," the boy's father said Friday.

"The snakeshot just barely went through his tongue. He's still in the hospital. They're watching for infection. But he can talk and walk."

Did the boy receive a stern parental lecture?"

"Oh, you bet," the father said. "You bet he did."

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