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GA - 14-year old killed in hunting accident

Funeral set for teen killed in hunting accident

By REBECCA McCARTHY
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/28/07
Family and friends will gather Wednesday afternoon to remember a 14-year-old boy from Buford who died following a hunting accident during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Zachery Gibson, a freshman at Mill Creek High School in Hoschton, was shot in the chest with a .22 rifle Friday evening. He had been hunting in Pine Mountain Valley, a rural part of Harris County north of Columbus, with another 14-year-old boy when the accident occurred.

A third unidentified child, a girl, was with the two boys. They had been squirrel hunting when one spotted a squirrel, turned and fired, hitting Zachery, said Lt. Jim Price of the Harris County Sheriff's Department. The accident happened shortly before 6 p.m., when night was falling, he said.

The boys were in the same extended family, said Junior Flanigan, director of the Flanigan Funeral Home in Buford, which is handling the funeral. Flanigan didn't know how they were related.

Price said the boys had been hunting on private land adjacent to the house where the grandmother of the unidentified boy lives. Emergency medical workers arrived on the scene at the same time as the sheriff's deputies, Price said. Zachery was flown to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, where he was pronounced dead early Saturday.

No charges will be filed against the boy who shot Zachery, said Price.

A service will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Ivy Creek Baptist Church in Buford. Pastor Jim Ferguson said Zachery's death was "a tragic loss to the family. It's a tragic loss to our church, our community and school."

Rick Lavender, a spokesman for the state Department of Human Resources Wildlife Resource Division, said the 14-year-old who shot Zachery had completed a hunting education class. Such classes permit children 12 to 15 years old to hunt without a supervising adult present. Those older than 16 must have a hunting license.

The Friday shooting marks the fourth hunting-related fatality in Georgia since July, Lavender said.

Zachery is survived by his parents, two sisters, grandparents and other relatives.

Zachery's parents could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

"They are heartbroken," Flanigan said.

Staff writer Andria Simmons contributed to this article.

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