Army Officer Shot to Death in Hunting Accident | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Far to often we see headlines that tell us of the death of a serviceman or woman on the battlefield.  This time though, the brave serviceman was shot to death in Fort Bragg, North Carolina (NC), where he should have been the most safe.

On New Years Day a fatal shooting accident took place on a Fort Bragg recreational trail when a hunter mistook a runner for a deer and accidentally shot Capt. Jeremiah Sipes, 33, of Belgrade, Mont.

My thoughts go out to the family of this brave serviceman.  Any loss is hard, but one that was so preventable is even harder to take. 

 According to the 911 call:

“We were in here hunting, and a guy was running down the fire break,” the caller said, according to multiple media outlets that obtained the tape. “We jumped a deer, and this guy with me shot him, shot the guy. We need some help quick.”

“Jumping a deer” means startling an animal to make it run.

Hunting is allowed in portions of the sprawling base, which covers over 251 square miles in parts of four counties. New Year’s Day was the last day of deer season.  Fort Bragg officials are reviewing policies in hopes of preventing similar incidents in the future.

There were eight fatal hunting accidents last season in North Carolina and 28 serious hunting injures, according to the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission. Many of those accidents involve falls from tree stands or self-inflicted gunshots. There are 400,000 licensed hunters in the state.

We’re not sure why the hunter missed the deer and hit the solider.  We do know that legally, a wildlife negligent hunting charge should be issued when (a shooting) results in injury or death, and then there’s the other charges such as voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.

 If this is a negligent act causing a wrongful death, his family has a lot to recover in light of the tremendous, unfathomable loss.  Sipes was a young promising officer with a long career in the Army ahead of him.