Less than a week after her son Kyle was shot in what police called a “prank,” Edgewater resident Kathy Raley is left with a mix of emotions.
Most of all she is thankful—thankful that her son is alive, and thankful for the prayers she said helped him keep fighting. Raley is also left with compassion for the 22-year-old who shot her son, and an altered view on gun control.
For Raley, who has lost track of days, it’s hard to believe that less than a week ago, in the early hours of the morning on June 5, her son was shot in the buttocks in what police called a “prank.”
Investigators said Patrick Stapleton, 22, of Ashland, VA, shot Kyle in his sleep, mistaking a .40-caliber handgun for a BB gun.
As of Tuesday, Kyle remains in intensive care at Prince George’s Hospital.
“I felt like people needed to know that this was horrific,” Raley said. “That with this careless prank not only did he almost lose his life, but [potential] loss of his leg has been an issue. This is something that is going to affect him for the rest of his life.”
Raley said Kyle’s femoral artery, the large artery in his thigh, was “destroyed.” The swelling on his left leg was so severe that she said doctors were concerned the leg wasn’t getting the blood it needed.
But while Raley was concerned about Kyle’s leg, she was more worried she was going to lose her son.
“The nurse told me each minute we had with him was a gift, and when they tell you that, honestly a leg didn’t seem that important at the time,” Raley said. “But it certainly looks like the issues aren’t going to be as bad.”
Raley said Kyle should be getting out of the ICU in the next few days. They have been able to talk with him, but she said he has a long road of rehab and recovery ahead of him.
Despite how life-altering the events of the shooting has been for Raley, Kyle and their family, she said she is not angry with the “boy” who shot him—who has been charged with second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.
“I know he is not a boy because he was 22, but I am a parent and will call him a boy, and this is going to affect his life and his family,” Raley said. “I feel sympathy for his family too. I feel no anger for them honestly. I have a totally different opinion now on guns and the responsibility people who own these guns should have.”
According to police, the gun used to shoot Kyle is legally owned by a resident of the house they were in. However, the homeowner was not around during the time of the incident. Police said that the weapon appeared to be stored as required by law, but added that the case is being reviewed by the State's Attorney's Office.
Raley doesn’t understand why a loaded gun was “lying around the house.” She said before this happened to Kyle, she didn’t really have much of an opinion on gun control. But now she does, and she wants to be heard.
“Until now I never really had a side on the gun issue, not for it not against, and I can’t say now that I have a side for or against,” Raley said. “But I certainly have a side on gun safety and gun responsibility. And I guess that is what I am trying to say though all this. This happens everyday. And so many people are not as lucky as we have been."
Raley added, “We as a family thought someone needed to hear more than a prank and non life-threatening because this was much more than that.”
- UPDATE: Lothian Shooting Result of a 'Prank'