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Hunting Accident in California Kills Man

November 17, 2010

Fellow hunter 'tracking a bird' shot Napa man

NAPA -- A man killed in a hunting accident near Highway 37 in the North Bay was struck by a shotgun round when he got out of his truck at the moment someone in his group opened fire at a bird, authorities said.

William Daniel Downs, 50, of Napa was shot in the back of his head at about 4:15 p.m. Sunday, said Sonoma County sheriff's Capt. Matt McCaffrey.

Downs' 11-year-old son and two of the victim's friends were hunting pheasant with him. The sheriff's office has declined to say who fired the fatal shot.

The shooter "was tracking a bird from left to right while standing to the rear of a truck Downs was sitting in," McCaffrey said. "As that person fired at a bird, Downs simultaneously stepped out of the driver's side of the truck and was struck in the back of the head by the shotgun round."

Investigators have confirmed that Downs' death was accidental and that no crime occurred, McCaffrey said

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