Farmworkers in Porterville, California panicked and ducked for cover after one of them was shot multiple times Friday morning, and other bullets impacted around them.

They thought they were being intentionally targeted by a long-distance shooter, but it instead turned out that they were “merely” downrange from a very irresponsible teen who was target shooting without an adequate backstop  half a mile away.

A farmworker picking blueberries near Road 148 and Avenue 208 was shot in the leg Friday morning by a teenager practicing his shooting about a half a mile away.

Numerous Tulare County Sheriff deputies and California Highway Patrol officers responded to the area after receiving 9-1-1 calls from several farmworkers that they were being fired upon.

Less than a mile away, Rockford Elementary School was placed on lockdown for approximately 45 minutes, said Superintendent Caron Borba.

The students were out playing at recess when the shooting began, Borba said, but no one was injured and all students were accounted for.

This wasn’t an accident. This was negligence that ended up with one man shot several times, a school locked down, and a significant multi-agency “all hands on deck” response with long guns.

ABC30’s report showed that the teen was firing a battered old Glenfield or Marlin Model 60, an incredible common .22LR rifle. It and other firearms were confiscated from the home, and it may be some time before the family is able to reclaim them.  Lt. Rob Schimpf with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office was obviously irritated about the irresponsibility of the shooter.

“Anybody that fires a firearm, regardless of their environment, regardless of it being in a rural area, they need to realize that they’re responsible for the disposition of any round that they fire,” said Schimpf.

The rifle and other guns were taken from the home. Adults living there will have to go through a process with the Department of Justice to reclaim the weapons. As for the teen, he could be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

Remember the “Four Rules?” This 16 year-old grossly violated Rule 3.

1. Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded.
2. Never point a firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
4. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target and ready to fire.

Every shooter is responsible for every round they fire, without exception, including those that are negligent and accidental.

You are responsible for making sure that every bullet that comes out of their firearm will impact into a backstop capable of stopping that round. It doesn’t matter if you are shooting a .22LR or a 20mm cannon, that rule never changes.

Somehow that rule never became embedded with this teen-aged shooter, who was taken into custody as a result of this negligent shooting. If he is charged and convicted of assault with a deadly weapon as seems likely, he will never legally be able to touch another firearm for the rest of his life.