Teen dies in hunting accident

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A 16-year-old boy from Phenix died after being accidentally shot by a 17-year-old friend from Cullen during a hunting accident late Friday afternoon.

Charlotte County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Nancy Leonard confirmed the victim was Carter Thomas White, of the Aspen community (see obituary, page 3). She said grief counselors have been helping White’s classmates at Randolph-Henry High School.

“We have grief counselors in place within the division,” Leonard said. “We are so very fortunate to have such a very well-versed staff of two guidance counselors and an assistant principal whose background is being a high school guidance counselor.”

She said social worker Alison Gibbs has been bringing all of those resources together to help White’s classmates get through what she called a “tough week.”

“There was a prayer vigil around the flag pole at the school Monday morning. It was a very beautiful, healing event. The children are loving one another through this — they’re very strong and resilient. We’re devastated, but we’re going to get through this,” Leonard said.

According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), the incident took place on private property on Mt. Carmel Road in the southwestern part of Charlotte County, east of Brookneal. VDGIF officials said it was contacted about the shooting around 5:20 p.m. Friday and was still trying to determine the exact time of the incident.

According to the VDGIF, White was pronounced dead at the scene and his body transported to the medical examiner’s office in Richmond. The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and Campbell County Volunteer Rescue Squad assisted the VDGIF.

The VDGIF said White and the other teen “were good friends and hunting (deer) together.” White was standing in an agricultural field and his friend mistook him for a deer and shot him. The agency indicated the distance between the two was 150-200 yards. Both were wearing orange-colored blazers and both had receiving hunter education and had the appropriate hunting licenses.

The VDGIF said the information provided Sunday morning was still preliminary, the incident is still under investigation and it may provide further updates.

In the wake of Friday’s incident, the VDGIF included three rules it considers important to keep hunters and their partners safe from injury or death.

• Treat every firearm as if loaded; never assume a firearm is unloaded. A firearm should only be loaded when you are in the field and ready to shoot.

• Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Don’t point your gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot, particularly other hunters. A “safe direction” means no one is in or remotely near the line of fire.

• Be sure of your target and aware of what is beyond it. Before every shot, identify the target. You should know exactly where the bullet will strike and feel confident you won’t injure anyone or anything beyond your target. In the case of pass-through, a bullet may carry enough energy to travel well beyond the intended target, so be absolutely sure there’s nothing beyond your target and know where everyone is if hunting in a group.