Sixth-grader who died while hunting was Berlin Middle School student, district confirms
BERLIN, Wis. (WMTV) - The 11-year-old boy who died after being shot while hunting was a middle-school student in Berlin, the school district confirmed on Monday. In a statement, the Berlin Area School District superintendent wrote, the district “is heartbroken” by Easton Thom’s death.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Thom family and friends, school staff, and the entire Berlin community,” Superintendent Emmett Durtschi continued. He added that the district and other outside agencies will be offering support to students and staff this week.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources previously reported Thom died while deer hunting Sunday morning. According to the agency, a 41-year-old man was trying to unload his firearm while the weapon was in the backseat of a vehicle when it fired.
DNR Recreation Warden Supervisor Bob Kneeland told NBC15 Monday that a bullet pierced through the back passenger door before hitting the boy in the chest. Thom was flown to an area hospital where he died from his injuries.
DNR indicated Thom and the 41-year-old man were part of the same hunting party. As of Monday, Kneeland said the DNR has not discussed potential charges for the shooter.
The shooting occurred on the second day of gun deer season in Wisconsin. Kneeland said it was the only fatal incident during opening weekend, but there were five other non-fatal hunting incidents.
“As crazy it sounds, I’d like to work myself out of a job in investigating hunting incidents,” Kneeland said. “I’d like everybody to be safe.”
Since a peak in the 1960s, hunting incidents, both fatal and non-fatal, have declined in Wisconsin, according to a report by the DNR. The agency has since made hunter education and wearing blaze orange mandatory.
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