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Forum staff reports, Published September 07 2010

Halstad parents say 16-year-old son hurt in accidental shooting making good progress

The parents of a Halstad, Minn., 16-year-old who was moved out of intensive care Monday at Sanford Health in Fargo say their son's physical condition before an accidental shooting last week will contribute to his recovery.

Payton Rufsvold was accidentally shot in the stomach with a shotgun at a party on Thursday night at a rural Grandin, N.D., home. The alleged shooter, a 16-year-old Grandin boy, reportedly got a 20-gauge shotgun from his vehicle sometime during the party. He thought the gun was unloaded, but pulled the trigger, firing one round at Rufsvold.

Traill County Sheriff Mike Crocker said the bullet went through a soda bottle Rufsvold was holding, which may have saved Rufsvold's life.

Crocker expected the alleged 16-year-old shooter to be charged with reckless endangerment, a Class C felony, and minor in consumption of alcohol, a Class B misdemeanor.

Online court records do not show any such charges filed in Traill County District Court either today or on Friday.

A phone message left for Traill County State’s Attorney Stuart Larson was not immediately returned on Tuesday morning.

Dave and Lori Rufsvold, in a statement released Tuesday, said their son is making "very good progress."

"Payton has such a great spirit and is a very strong willed individual," they said. "We know that this is far from over and that each day he will be faced with another hurdle."

Payton Rufsvold was expected to play quarterback this season for the Norman County West Panthers. Due to low numbers, the team had to postpone its first regular season game, which was slated for the night of the accident.

The Rufsvolds thanked the support their family has received from family and friends. They also thanked the Hillsboro (N.D.) Medical Center, the LifeFlight crew from Sanford, the Sanford medical staff and hospital.

"Our hearts go out to the other families involved in this sad, avoidable incident," the Rufsvolds said.