Mom outraged over summer camp's response after counselor accidentally shoots her son with a BB gun

Posted at 6:28 PM, Jul 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-27 18:30:15-04

A Treasure Coast mom is outraged after learning her son was accidentally shot by a camp counselor during a BB gun activity and that doesn't compare to how she felt when she heard what the counselor in question had to say.

Ryan Riker, 10, did not go back to summer camp this week. Last Tuesday his mother Marianne Riker dropped him off at the Youth for Life Camp in Vero Beach. When she picked him she was shocked to learn what a camp employee had to tell her.

"That he had been shot by one of the counselors," said Riker. "Wait a minute, what?"

Riker was told by the employee at 4:30 pm. that her son was accidentally shot during a BB gun activity earlier that afternoon. Her son was never taken to get checked out at 'first aid' because the counselor said he was upset and refused.

"How do you not notify the parents? How do you not take him to first aid? He doesn't get to decide, he's 10," added Riker.

Puzzled and concerned, she wanted answers.

"I was in shock. I couldn't believe...I was expecting apologies, I was expecting this was a mistake here's what we're going to do to change it and that was not what we got," said Riker.

The Camp Director did not want to interview with NewsChannel 5, but said the counselor should have taken the child to First Aid and contacted his parents. She said the majority of the counselors are college students 18 and over who receive some training to run all activities. Riker said that's not what the counselor who shot her son told her.

"He admitted now twice that he doesn't know anything about guns. He picked it up, was trying to help, he was putting BBs in it and pulled the trigger," said Riker.

Riker called out the Indian River County Sheriff's Office to file a report. A deputy met with her at the camp and documented that the counselor said he is not familiar with weapons or BB guns.

Ryan's skin swelled and bruised up for days. Riker had to take him to the doctor.

"It punctured the skin, we had to have it confirmed that the BB was not still in him," she said.

The scare could have been a lot worse, but Riker says she was even more disturbed with how the camp counselor reacted.

"He seemed very annoyed that this kept going on. He told me I was overreacting," she added.

Riker said after this experience she will be doing more research on what activities summer camps provide and who is qualified to run them.

The Sheriff's office report indicates that the deputy questioned the Camp Director about why they were not contacted and said any time there is an incident with a weapon discharged the Sheriff's Office must be contacted. The report says the Director thought it was an accident and did not think it necessary to report.

The camp incident report states that the counselor involved will be receiving service training and that all counselors have been reminded of the safety procedures and protocols in place.

The camp has been around for over 50 years and has included the BB gun activity for many years.