12-Year-Old Shot While Hunting Died ‘The Way He Would Want To’
Tragedy struck two different North Carolina families on Friday morning, as a man shot his nephew dead in a hunting accident, and another gunned down his brother in a case of mistaken identity.
A 12-year-old boy named James Lee Parker was shot and killed Friday morning in a hunting accident near Durham, North Carolina, Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison told WCTI 12 News. He was hunting with his father, uncle and step-brother.
The reporter interviewed the deceased boy’s great uncle, David Holloman, who was not present at the time of the accident. Holloman related that the accident occurred in the Falls Lake Recreation area, where the family hunting group had just killed a deer when another appeared. The uncle, Jason Matthews Harper, was trying to reload his 12-gauge shotgun when it accidentally discharged, fatally wounding his 12-year-old nephew in the chest.
The great uncle told the TV news:
"[James] loved to hunt and he died that way. I believe that’s the way he would want to go if he was going to go. I guess God had plans for him and he’s up in heaven now."
This is not meant to attack the great uncle, who is no doubt grieving his family’s loss — but, still, there seems to be little comfort in thinking that a pre-teen wanted to die via a bullet wound to his chest.
Perhaps a reminder that stricter penalties are needed for violating gun laws, the uncle who fired the rifle had improperly acquired a hunting license and had not taken the required hunting education course, according to the WCTI 12 News report. It’s possible that Jason Matthews Harper could face criminal charges.
According to 1999 statistics, 214 children (0-19 years old) are killed in gun accidents every year in the U.S. That’s about one child dying from accidental gunfire every other day. In total, 3,385 children were killed with a gun in 1999, including homicides, suicides, and accidents.
Unfortunately, James Lee Parker’s death wasn’t the only accidental shooting of a family member that happened in North Carolina on Friday morning. Just over two hours south in Wilmington, a 65-year-old man shot his 63-year-old brother dead because he thought he was a home intruder, reports the Charlotte Observer.
Al Dastmalchi told police he heard glass breaking early Friday morning and grabbed his gun to investigate. He opened the door and reported seeing an unknown person lunging at him with what appeared to be a spiked object. The man fired one round at close range, hitting the suspected intruder in the chest.
When the homeowner turned on the porch light, he realized the victim was his 63-year-old brother, George Dastmalchi. Police had responded to a call at the same address earlier in the evening, when George was found intoxicated and taken to a nearby hospital, only to return hours later to his brother’s house to meet his death.