CLAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. – An 11-year-old boy has died from his injuries after he was shot by his stepfather in an apparent hunting accident in Clay Township, officials said.
The shooting happened around 8 p.m. Sunday in the area of Benoit and River roads.
“Like most of these, it could have been preventable,” Clay Township police Chief Michael Koach said. “That is the shame of it.”
The boy, his mother and his stepfather were on his grandfather’s property near Algonac taking part in the Department of Natural Resources' “Youth Deer Hunt.”
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Officials said the group shot a deer. Sunset was at 7:40 p.m. and they were out looking for the deer they shot, according to authorities.
When darkness set in around 8 p.m., the group still had their weapons out, police said. Koach said the stepfather fired a shot that struck the 11-year-old boy.
“At this point, shots were fired,” Koach said. “They thought they were shooting at a deer and one of the rounds hit the young man.”
He was rushed to McLaren Macomb Hospital and transferred to Children’s Hospital in Detroit, authorities said. Doctors tried to save him, but he succumbed to his injuries.
“It’s the only way you can put this is absolute tragedy,” Koach said. “No doubt about it.”
The boy’s mother scrambled to unload the weapon after her son was shot, and in doing so, she accidentally shot herself in the hand, authorities said.
Even though investigators believe the shooting was accidental, the boy’s stepfather was taken into custody due to his criminal past, officials said.
“What we are going off of right now, past criminal history that ties everything together, questions (that) there could be other violations,” Koach said.
DNR officials are also investigating whether the family followed all the safety laws and rules, including that hunters must wear blaze orange.
“I can’t stress enough to follow the rules, the laws when out there in the field,” said Koach, who also teaches hunting safety classes.