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UT: 'Stray bullet' claims 15-year-old

Farr West hunter honored / Family: 'Stray bullet' claims 15-year-old
Thursday, October 23, 2008
By CARLOS MAYORGA Standard-Examiner staff

FARR WEST -- As a kid, Nick Joynt loved to play cops and robbers, and every time, he insisted on being the cop. He even told friends he wanted to be a Texas Ranger when he grew up.

The 15-year-old Fremont High School sophomore occasionally wore boots and a cowboy hat and recently joked to friends that one reason he wanted to move to Texas was because all the girls from there on MySpace liked him.

But Joynt's dreams of living like a cowboy came to an end when he was killed in a hunting accident Sunday.

Joynt, his father, an uncle and a cousin were hunting cow elk in a rural part of Daggett County when the teen was killed by a stray bullet, say family members of the teen.

Dozens of friends from high school and family members from his Farr West neighborhood honored the teen with a candlelight vigil Wednesday night.

Friends say Joynt was likable and goofy, someone who fit in with everyone, including skaters, the preppie crowd and cowboys.

"He was, like, my best friend," said 15-year-old Kortnee Urry. "He liked to hunt, he liked to skateboard. He fit in with everybody."

Urry said she wishes she could have told Joynt that she loved him.

"He always meant the world to me," she said. "I want him to rest in peace and that God be with him."

Joynt's tearful mother told her son's friends, many in cowboy hats, that she was touched so many had shown up for her son and asked for hugs from supporters.

"I know some of you don't know me," she said, "but give me a hug. Come say, 'I love you, Mom.' "

The shooting is still under investigation, and numerous calls over two days to the Daggett County Sheriff's Department for comment on the case have not been not returned.

Several news outlets have reported the boy was accidentally killed by a bullet that was fired from a rifle his father was carrying, but those close to the family say they believe that is not true.

Clifton Hudman, the nephew of the teen's father, witnessed the accident and said he believed the bullet that struck Joynt did not come from the gun the boy's father was using.

"It was a stray bullet," Hudman said. "I've hunted with him for 20 years. He's the safest hunter I know and puts safety before anything. No way it came from his dad's gun."

Hudman said there were other hunters in the area at the time and that he is cooperating closely with authorities who are investigating the accident.

Although the teen had regularly hunted with his father and Hudman since he was about 5 years old, he had never taken a shot at big game until recently.

Hudman said he was proud of Joynt and that the teen died doing what he loved.  

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