Iowa Man Who Accidentally Shot Marine With Air Rifle Fined

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A 71-year-old Iowa City man who seriously wounded a U.S. Marine while shooting an air rifle at a squirrel has been fined $855 after pleading guilty in April to a misdemeanor.

Philip Olson was issued the fine Thursday for violating an Iowa City ordinance prohibiting the discharge of toy guns and slingshots, the Press-Citizen reported.

Police have said Olson was shooting at a squirrel in his yard last October when the pellet hit then 20-year-old Gabe Heefner, of Kirkwood, Missouri, who was driving by. Police found Heefner in a wrecked car with what looked like a gunshot wound to the head. At the time, Heefner was a lance corporal in the Marines who was in Iowa City visiting his grandparents and friends about a week before he was set to be deployed to Japan.

Olson turned himself in several days after Heefner was found and tearfully apologized to the man's family in court on Thursday, saying he had “made a waste of my life and the life of an innocent young man.”

Heefner's father said his son is now unable to walk without assistance and suffers from memory loss and an inability to use his left arm, among other medical issues.