BUTLER (KDKA) – A grandfather accused of fatally shooting his grandson in Butler County was in court for a preliminary hearing Tuesday morning.

Larry Karnes, 76, was held for trial in the shooting death of 19-year-old Austin Riddell.

According to police, the shooting happened on Sept. 28, at a home in the 100-block of Sunset Drive in Connoquenessing Township.

Authorities say Karnes admitted to shooting Riddell, but said it was an accident.

Karnes and Riddell allegedly got into an argument in the living room of the home they share with Riddell’s grandmother. Riddell wanted a ride to an area football game.

After Karnes said he didn’t have enough gas to get there, things escalated when he went in another room to grab a .22-caliber rifle to “scare” his grandson.

Reportedly, Riddell responded by saying, “that doesn’t scare me, what are you going to do?”

That’s when Karnes told police he took a step backward, stumbled into a wall and the gun discharged, the bullet hitting Riddell in the chest.

Karnes’ attorney says once the trial is started, the facts will show he wasn’t a cold-hearted killer, but instead a victim himself.

“The only thing my client is really guilty of is taking his grandson in,” Karnes’ attorney, Terri Shultz said. “This was a very volatile situation. I think we’re going to find out there was a lot of elder abuse and things going on.”

Karnes faces a criminal homicide charge and is being held at the Bulter County Jail on no bond.


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