Attempted Mouse Shooting Ends in Man Shot and Sex Abuse Charge

(Photo courtesy: Salt Lake County Jail)

A bizarre shooting in Taylorsville, Utah, that began with the pursuit of a mouse ended with a man in critical condition from a gunshot wound and a sexual abuse charge.

Paul David Kunzler (above), 34, has been arrested and charged with attempted rape of a child, sodomy on a child and aggravated sexual abuse following the discovery of a 13-year-old girl hiding in the basement of a house Kunzler shared with three other men.

Police discovered the girl when they responded to the Taylorsville house at 2 a.m. on Thursday in regard to an accidental shooting. A 28-year-old male had been shot in the abdomen.

"The victim's roommate, a 27-year-old male, had been in the kitchen area and witnessed a mouse or some kind of rodent run across the countertop and shot at the mouse with a 9mm handgun," Taylorsville Police Sgt. Tracy Wyant told "The round went through an adjacent wall and into a bathroom where the victim was struck one time in the chest."

The victim was transported to a hospital in critical condition, and is now in stable condition.

Wyant said police conducted a search of the house since a weapon had been used there for safety purposes, and in the course of the search, they discovered the 13-year-old girl hiding in the basement.

The girl "told officers she left her house without her father knowing where she was going" and disclosed that she and Kunzler "have been seeing each other sexually," according to a police document from the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office. The relationship had been going on for approximately four months.

"Alcohol was determined to be a factor in the case," Wyant said.

In total, there were four men living in the house and Wyant said it is "absolutely" a possibility that the other three men could face charges if police can prove that they knew about the sexual abuse.

"In Utah, you're required to notify authorities of any abuse, whether it be sexual or physical," Wyant said. "You have to prove that they knew and failed to act, and that can be tricky."

Wyant said Kunzler did not have any history of sexual abuse or criminal record beyond minor traffic incidents.

"It's kind of one of those double-edged swords," Wyant said. "We wish the reckless intoxication wouldn't have occurred and someone wasn't shot, but at the same time, we're very grateful for discovering this young lady and put a stop to the abuse."

There seems to be one party that benefitted from the "bizarre" situation, as Wyant called it-the mouse.

"The mouse did survive," he said. "There does seem to be a level of concern about the mouse. Actually, some people think the mouse should win an award for aiding in the discovery of sexual abuse."