Woman high on amphetamines charged in shooting of 12-year-old girl, deputies say

Suspect accused of accidentally pulling trigger while handling rifle

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – A woman who was handling a gun while high on amphetamines and other drugs is facing charges after a 12-year-old girl was shot in the head, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said the shooting happened July 26 in the Pine Lakes area of Eustis.

Mandy Ward, 33, was inside her home when her 7-year-old son went to retrieve a tent bag, which contained a .22 caliber rifle with a sawed of stock, from the end of the driveway, according to the report.

A 12-year-old girl who lives in the neighborhood saw the boy handling the firearm and asked what he was doing, which is when he began marching down the driveway with the rifle in hand, authorities said. 

The two children went toward the residence and Ward told them to hand her the gun through the window of the mobile home, according to the affidavit.

Deputies said Ward had the gun pointed out the window toward the children as she was trying to put it back in the bag and that's when the gun was fired, shooting the 12-year-old girl.

The bullet went into the girl's scalp, traveled along her skull then exited 3 to 4 inches away from the entry point, the report said. She was rushed to Florida Hospital DeLand to be treated for a non-life-threatening injury. She has since been released.

The owner of the gun, Randall Cannon, was arrested after the shooting on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and tampering with evidence, after deputies say he hid the gun in the woods.

The Department of Children and Families ordered Ward to undergo a drug screening the day after the shooting. The screening found that she had THC, amphetamines and methamphetamines, according to the affidavit.

Officials said DCF has investigated Ward on four different occasions for environmental hazards and inadequate supervision of her children.

Ward was arrested Wednesday on charges of child neglect, tampering with evidence and failing to safely store a firearm.

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