Teenager killed after hunter mistakes him for a deer

A 17-year-old was killed during a hunting trip this weekend after another person mistook him for a deer, WJXT-TV reported. 

Bobby Lane was hunting in Brunswick, Ga., on Saturday when the tragic accident occurred. As he trekked through an area with “heavy foliage,” one of his hunting partners shot at him, Glynn County police said in a statement.

The shooter, identified as Hector Romero, reportedly thought Lane’s footsteps were the sound of a deer. Romero then helped carry Lane to a nearby gas station, after which the teenager was brought to a nearby hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

“You don’t expect anything like this to happen to a child,” Lane’s cousin, Michael Rawling, told CNN. “It’s very hard. Very, very hard.”

Rawling has set up a GoFundMe page since the accident, with donations going toward his cousin’s “completely unexpected funeral.” The campaign has raised more than $2,500 as of Monday morning. 

“Any help in donations will go straight to his mother who is trying to make it through this tragedy and arrange his burial,” the page’s description says.

Lane was a “very avid hunter and fisherman who loved the outdoors,” according to Rawling. He described his 17-year-old cousin as having a “heart of gold.”

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is helping to investigate the case, warned that Romero should not have been using a rifle, as it is currently bow season in Georgia. Hunters aren’t allowed to use firearms until Oct. 19.

Mark McKinnon, a spokesman for the Georgia DNR, told the Washington Post that the presence of an unauthorized firearm “will play into the investigation” of Lane’s death. It’s still unclear whether Romero will be charged with a crime.

CNN reported that Lane and Romero knew each other, but their exact relationship has not been confirmed. McKinnon said incidents like this are generally rare in Georgia.

“Most hunting accidents we have, and most fatalities we have, are from falling from tree stands. Those are much more common than shooter incidents,” he told the Washington Post.

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