GUN TRAGEDY: 'This sort of thing will never leave you'
TONY Calvisi, grandfather of a five-year-old boy who was accidentally shot in the face at his Cottonvale home, said gun owners might think they're being safe, but all it takes is one terrible accident to prove you wrong.
"This sort of thing will never leave you," Mr Calvisi said.
"Every time you pick up a gun now you'll just be thinking of everything."
At 4pm last Tuesday, January 2, five-year-old Cameron Calvisi was accidentally shot in the face with a rifle by his 12-year-old cousin when the two boys were playing in the shed.
The incident has left the entire community wondering how something like this could happen.
"When you're using (guns) constantly you tend not to put them away," Mr Calvisi said.
"Make sure (your guns) are in a really safe place, because we thought that then, and now..."
Mr Calvisi said the .22 rifle was left unloaded in the back of a ute, where the two boys must have found it.
"I don't know who loaded the gun," Mr Calvisi said.
"Never in a million years did we think anything like this would happen out here."
Mr Calvisi said many people commenting on the incident didn't know what it was like on a property.
"Bats and parrots can come and destroy your entire crop in a matter of seconds, causing thousands of dollars of damage," he said.
"We don't use guns that much except in the season."
Mr Calvisi said no one heard the shots go off.
The two boys discovered the gun when a large thunderstorm forced them to seek shelter in the shed.
"No one heard the shots," Mr Calvisi said.
"My grandson came running down screaming, saying Cameron had been shot in the head."
Cameron is currently in the spinal ward of Brisbane's Lady Cilento Hospital and is awaiting a third round of surgery to remove a bullet that lies 1mm from his spinal cord.
The injury almost took Cameron's life.
He is conscious but is unable to speak, using sign language to communicate.
Once the bullet is removed Cameron will have to undergo reconstruction surgery to repair damage to his mouth and jaw.
Cameron, who lived on the Cottonvale property with his cousin and grandfather, was due to start preschool in nearby town Thulimbah this year.
Mr Calvisi said the whole family was in shock, but coping with the incident as best they could.
"There's no use moping around, but I always think of the incident and little Cammy lying there," Mr Calvisi said.
The 12-year old boy who fired the rifle has been traumatised and has received some counselling.
Two other cousins are reported to have post- traumatic stress and are suffering flashbacks.
"The boys were all very close, they always played together and had a very good relationship," Mr Calvisi said.
He said rumours of sibling rivalry between the two boys were untrue.
"Our name has been in Stanthorpe for a long time."
"We've never caused any trouble and we give our grandchildren the best care we can.
"Love is the most important thing, and we love each of our kids equally.
"That's how we'll get through this."
Mr Calvisi said the family wanted nothing from the community but support and an end to harmful rumours and speculation.
A police spokesman said investigations into the incident were ongoing, but the family's wellbeing was the top priority.
The Calvisi family waits to see if police will lay charges.