Bullet Ricochets Off Armadillo Shell, Strikes Septuagenarian in Back

When Larry McElroy went to shoot an armadillo, he did not think he would wind up accidentally shooting his mother-in-law.

Authorities report that after the 54-year-old South Georgian fired his 9-mm pistol at the armadillo the night of April 12, the bullet bounced off the animal, struck a fence, penetrated the back door of the mother-in-law’s mobile home, and traveled through the recliner in which she was sitting, striking her in the back.

Carol Johnson, McElroy’s 74-year-old mother-in-law, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and according to Bill Smith, the county sheriff’s investigator, was walking around and talking after the incident.

According to authorities, McElroy was not only within his rights to shoot the armadillo, but was also taking the recommended course of action.

For more than one hundred years, state courts have looked to evidence of legislative intent when construing state laws, which, in the case of Georgia, allow citizens to carry a firearm — openly or concealed — in one’s home or place of business without a license, placing McElroy well within his rights.

Shooting armadillos is also the recommended way to get rid of the pests, which inadvertently tear up homeowners’ lawns in search of the grubs they eat, according to Dougherty County Extension Coordinator James Morgan.

James Morgan, the Dougherty County Extension Coordinator said they actually recommend that residents who live in the county shoot the armadillos. Traps can also be used to capture them.

“Shooting is an effective way of getting rid of them. However, you have to be safe when you do that,” Morgan told WALB News.

However, Smith thought a shotgun might have been a better choice, telling WALB, “I really think if they’re going to shoot at varmints and whatnot, maybe use a shotgun … with a spread pattern with a lot less range.”

Of course, it’s also possible to get rid of armadillos without blasting them to smithereens. Grub pesticide, which kills the insects that armadillos are trying to eat, works well, too.

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