Former Portales resident involved in shooting tragedy

Staff and wire reports

A 9-year-old Lubbock girl is dead after her grandfather shot her while rabbit hunting in what investigators are calling “a very tragic accident” at the family farm about 20 miles northwest of Lubbock.

Lubbock Christian School Superintendent Peter Dahlstrom, 61, was hunting with four grandchildren on the family farm Friday evening when he fired his .22-caliber rifle at a rabbit, Hockley County Sheriff Kevin Davis said in a statement.

The bullet hit his granddaughter Soren Dahlstrom, 9, who had stepped into his line of fire.

The grandfather drove the child to University Medical Center in Lubbock where she died.

Dahlstron is a former Portales resident and seventh grade basketball coach at Portales Junior High.

Dahlstrom gave a full statement to deputies, Davis said. There was no evidence of criminal intent or recklessness and no charges were filed, he said.

“This is simply a very tragic accident, and I cannot fathom what this family is having to endure,” Davis said.

Soren was a third-grader at the school run by her grandfather.

“This is a great tragedy for our school,” Brian Pitaniello, chairman of the school’s board of trustees, told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal for a story in Sunday’s editions.

Peter Dahlstrom has been the superintendent of the private school for 17 years, Pitaniello said.

“He is a spiritual leader for our school. He loves our kids,” he said.

Students organized a prayer vigil for the Dahlstrom family in the school auditorium Saturday that drew hundreds of students, teachers, parents and friends of the family, Pitaniello said.