Actor Paralyzed in New Jersey Theme Park Show Shooting Sues

An actor shot in the head and partly paralyzed when live ammunition was mistakenly used during a theme park's staged gunfight sued Wild West City, its owner and others on Thursday, charging their negligence and recklessness led to his injuries.

"It's reckless misconduct in operation of the theme park in allowing a 17-year-old who had no firearms training to have access to firearms and live ammunition," said Andrew A. Fraser, lawyer for the wounded actor, Scott Harris.

"Obviously, Scott will need a lifetime of care, rehabilitation and medical treatment," Fraser said.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages that would be used for those purposes, Fraser said.

Harris, 39, of Byram, was shot July 7, 2006. His right arm and leg are paralyzed, he cannot walk and he has difficulty speaking, Fraser said. Harris now lives in a group home in Harding.

During a news conference at his lawyer's office in Sparta, Harris was asked about his recovery. He replied, "Long road," the Daily Record of Parsippany reported on its Web site.

The lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court for Sussex County in Newton, named park owner Michael Stabile; Nathan McPeak, a park supervisor; and Alberto Morales, an employee who brought real ammunition to the park, Fraser said.

Also sued was the 17-year-old who fired the .22-caliber pistol, who was identified in court papers as D.S. since he was a juvenile at the time, Fraser said.

Messages left at Wild West City for Stabile and McPeak were not immediately returned. No listing could be found for Morales in the area.

Criminal charges were brought in January 2007 against Stabile and McPeak, as well as the juvenile. The adults were charged with violating public safety by allowing a gun with real ammunition in the show. Their cases have not yet come to trial, Fraser said.

The juvenile, who said he mistakenly loaded bullets instead of blanks, was charged with assault and was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty in May 2007 to negligently injuring another person with a weapon.