“The case against a youth mentor and former hunting safety instructor accused in the shooting death of a 13-year-old boy will go to trial,” Grand Rapids, Michigan’s wzzm13 reports. “The family of a 13-year-old boy fatally shot while hunting squirrels has reached a $1 million settlement with the Christian organization that hosted the February outing in Oceana County back in August 2017.” And now it’s Roger Hoeker’s turn to face the music . . .
Mr. Hoeker is charged with recklessly discharging a firearm. A judge dismissed the more serious charge of involuntary manslaughter in December. “Reckless discharge implies carelessness or recklessness but not ‘willful or wanton disregard’ for another’s safety, Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon said at the time.
The hunter claims that Billy Gort Jr. was felled by a bullet ricocheting off a tree that struck the teen in the head. An expert hired for the wrongful death suit successfully disputed the assertion. A jury of Mr. Hoeker’s peers will make the final determination.
All of which reminds us to choose our equipment carefully, observe all the safety rules meticulously, and put our faith in the almighty that we won’t suffer a cruel, unforseen fate for our actions, when hunting or otherwise.