By: Melissa Kinton
The Monroe County Advocate, 03-24-2007
Three people were shot in the face during a juvenile turkey hunt
about a mile in the woods off Mt. Pleasant Road Saturday morning.
Patricia Dupes of the Mt. Pleasant community, Barbara Sue Butler,
Lost Village Lane, Vonore, and Butler’s 14-year-old granddaughter,
Shawna Butler, were all treated at UT Medical Center in Knoxville.
Dupes and Barbara Sue Butler were in stable condition Saturday night
while Shawna Butler was treated and released.
“There were no shots in their eyes, which was a blessing,” said
Doug McKenzie, an agent with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources
Agency. McKenzie and TWRA led the investigation into the shooting.
The hunting party, three women and three juveniles (all related),
entered the Cherokee National Forest before dawn. Shortly before 8
a.m., one of the juveniles, a 14-year-old boy hunting with his
mother, thought he saw a turkey.
He fired once, hitting Barbara Sue and Shawna Butler and Dupes in
the face with shotgun pellets. Dupes’ 8-year-old granddaughter
Cassidy Brannon was also in the woods with the family but was not
When he heard the women screaming, the boy realized what happened
and went to get help. But when help arrived, neither he nor his
mother was forthcoming with information to authorities.
“They denied it at first because I think they were afraid of
being attacked,” said McKenzie.
According to McKenzie and Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies at the
scene, some of the family members who had not been hunting but lived
nearby came to the scene and threatened whoever shot the women.
TWRA took the mother and son to Mt. Pleasant Church for
questioning where he said they later confessed.
“They were very regretful about it,” said McKenzie. He said he
told them they should ask their family for forgiveness.
Authorities are not releasing the boy’s name or his mother’s name
because the boy is expected to be charged in juvenile court.
McKenzie said he didn’t know yet if he would charge the boy with
aggravated assault or reckless endangerment.
“We’re not asking that he be taken away from his parents. No
malice was involved,” said McKenzie.
He said the reason he was charging the boy, even though the
shooting was accidental, was because the boy had attended a hunter’s
education course and “knew better.” McKenzie said he hoped the boy’s
hunting privileges would be suspended for a while and he would be
required to re-take the hunter’s education course. The boy’s gun was
TWRA worked into the evening at the scene of the shooting, using
a dog to find the “wad” that came out of the boy’s shotgun when he
fired. The TWRA agents were able to determine exactly where in the
woods the shooting happened and even the direction in which the shot
When the call went out for emergency response around 8 a.m.,
rescuers did not know if anyone had been seriously injured or killed
or if the shooting had been intentional. The Monroe County Rescue
Squad brought the injured women out of the woods on ATVs.
Monroe County Emergency Medical Services and Sheriff’s Office,
Citico and Mt. Pleasant Fire Departments, the Tennessee Highway
Patrol and TWRA all responded to the scene.
Traffic on Citico Road was backed up for more than a mile as the
details of the early morning shooting first began to unfold. Local
residents even turned out to help.
“This family is a rather extended family,” explained McKenzie.
“Many, many family members came out.”
Saturday was the first day of the two-day Young Sportsmen’s Wild
Turkey Hunt. McKenzie said he hoped Sunday would be a better day for
Melissa Kinton may be reached at 337-7101 or