No charges for deacon who shot students in church gun safety class
OCALA — A church deacon who shot three girls, two of them sisters, while teaching a gun safety class a few months ago, will not face any criminal charges.
Hugues Valcius, a deacon at Eglise Baptiste Philadelphie Church at 1240 SE County Road 484, said by phone Tuesday that the shooting was an accident and is something “the family and the church doesn’t want to talk about anymore.”
Valcius, 58, declined to comment further.
According to a Marion County Sheriff’s Office report, the incident occurred at the church the afternoon of April 22. It involved a girl age 10, and the sisters, ages 11 and 14. Deputies said the 10-year-old and 11-year-old were both shot in the right leg. The 14-year-old was shot in the left arm.
Deputies were told that approximately 10 people were in the class.
Valcius told Deputy John W. Pettit that he was teaching the juveniles about firearms and gun safety and removed the magazine from his Sig Sauer P250 9mm. He said he was showing the difference between a real gun and a BB gun when the firearm discharged. He said he believes his finger snagged the trigger. He did not remember pulling the trigger.
An eyewitness told the deputy she and several other juveniles were in the safety class when she heard a loud bang and saw a flash.
Other witnesses said Valcius squeezed the trigger, but it was an accident. One witness said he unloaded the weapon and forgot that a round was in the chamber. One witness said one juvenile was grazed and two others were hit in their legs, the report notes.
Parents ran into the classroom and towels and clothing were used to stop the bleeding, witnesses said. Valcius apologized and also tried to stop the bleeding, witnesses said.
Deputies were told that Valcius once worked for the FBI in New Jersey and presently works for a government agency in Orlando.
Pettit went to Ocala Regional Medical Center, where the injured juveniles were transported. The mother of the sisters told the deputy she knows it was an accident and did not want Valcius to “get in trouble.”
The mother of the other juvenile also talked with the deputy and said she does not want the man to be punished.
After the deputy checked the firearm to see if it was stolen and records to see if Valcius was a convicted felon, both of which had negative results, the gun was returned to the deacon.
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