BY ROB SEMAN
Roxbury man shot in hunting accident
Victim accidentally struck by Denville man treated, released
OXFORD -- A Roxbury man was accidentally shot in the face by a
Denville man as both hunted pheasant on state parkland Saturday
Oxford police said Frederick Flake Jr., 41, took a shot at a
pheasant through a row of bushes in the Peaquest Wildlife Management
Area, but instead hit 47-year-old Nabhan Elsamara, who lives in the
Landing section of Roxbury.
As many as 20 or so tiny pellets fired from Flake's 12-guage
shotgun struck Elsamara in the right eyelid, his head, chest and the
middle finger of his right hand, police said.
The incident is under investigation by police, who were
dispatched to the scene at 7:22 a.m., and officials from the state
Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Elsamara was able to walk with his friend, Ghassan Najem, 52, of
Oxford, to the parking lot of the wildlife area, where he was taken
by helicopter to Morristown Memorial Hospital. He was treated and
released in about three hours.
He was recovering from his wounds at home with friends and family
on Saturday afternoon. He said he had pain in his eyes, and that his
left eyelid was swollen from the wound.
Flake was not charged by police.
The incident appeared accidental and friends of Flake contended
that the hunter took the shot properly, Oxford police officer Robert
Yeisley said. State wildlife officials also had not charged Flake as
of Saturday evening.
Yeisley said Flake and a group of friends were walking along a
row of bushes that were 15-feet thick but not very dense when their
hunting dog detected a pheasant. They attempted to flush the bird
out of the brush.
Yeisley said Flake shot from behind the bushes as Elsamara and
Najem approached from the other side.
Najem, in a telephone interview Saturday afternoon, said he saw
one of Flake's friends with the dog but did not see Flake.
"About 60-feet away we saw a guy with his dog trying to flush out
the pheasant," Najem said. "We stopped. We didn't want to get close
to him. ... We heard a shot from the other side and it just hit him
in the face."
The hunting area was not closed during or after the incident, and
Yeisley said hunters continued to arrive and leave as police and
state officials arrived at the scene. The grounds are stocked with
pheasant almost daily, he said.
"These fields for small game off of Peaquest (Road) are very
popular," Yeisley said. "There are a lot of hunters in there during
the hunting season."
Najem said he and Elsamara, custodians at Wayne public schools,
have hunted at Peaquest for about seven years.
Elsamara and Najem said they did not believe the shooting was
"I don't know the guy,"Elsamara said. "He did it by mistake."
Najem said the shooting was "just a freak accident," and noted
that Flake followed Elsamara to the parking lot and called 911.
"Thank God we were far away (from Flake) or it would have been a
disaster," Najem said. "Thank God he (Elsamara) is OK, that's the
Flake's shot killed a pheasant, but the bird was confiscated by
state wildlife officials, police said.