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Man Accidentally Shoots Mother-In-Law After Bullet Ricochets Off Armadillo

A Georgia man accidentally shot his mother-in-law in the back after a bullet bounced off the armadillo he was intending to kill.

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Larry McElroy accidentally shot his mother-in-law Sunday while trying to kill an armadillo.

Sheriff's deputies in Lee County, Georgia, said the 54-year-old man shot an armadillo with a 9 mm pistol, which killed the little armored animal, but a bullet also ricocheted off of it and eventually hit his mother-in-law, Carol Johnson, in the back, WALB-TV reported.

"Just the circumstances, just all the way around, the whole situation was unusual," Lee County Sheriff's Investigator Bill Smith said.

After the bullet bounced off the armadillo, it hit a fence and went through the door of Johnson's mobile home, and then through a recliner, where the 74-year-old woman was sitting.

Adding to the improbability of it all: Officials said McElroy was about 100 yards away from the home at the time he shot the pistol.

Johnson was taken to a hospital, where she is expected to recover.

"She was walking around on her own power and talking," Smith said of Johnson's condition. "It didn't appear to be too severe."

Armadillos are considered a nuisance to some homeowners because they dig for food, which can destroy a flower bed, Scott Frazier, a Georgia Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist, told Fox News.

James Morgan, the Dougherty County extension coordinator, told WALB-TV that they do recommend shooting or trapping armadillos for residents that live in the county.

"At first, I ask if they live in the city or county, because shooting is an effective way of getting rid of them," Morgan said. "However, you have to be safe when you do that."

Smith also recommend using a shotgun in the future.

"I really think if they're going to shoot at varmints and whatnot, maybe use a shotgun ... with a spread pattern with a lot less range," he said.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at michelle@buzzfeed.com.

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