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KY: Weekend hunting mishap claims life of Calloway teenager

November 29, 2010

KSP: Weekend hunting mishap claims life of Calloway teenager

A 16-year-old Almo girl was fatally injured in a hunting accident Saturday afternoon in Graves County.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Dean Patterson reported that troopers were dispatched to a field near the end of Diel Road in east Graves County at 2:45 p.m. Saturday in response to a hunting incident that left 16-year-old Torri Burkey wounded. KSP investigators determined upon arrival that the shooting took place after a 15-year-old male was attempting to load a rifle in preparation for hunting in the area.

The preliminary investigation revealed that as the juvenile male was loading the rifle, the weapon was inadvertently discharged and struck Burkey in the chest. Burkey's father was present and dialed 911 immediately. Burkey was transported by ambulance to Jackson Purchase Medical Center in Mayfield, where she later died, Patterson said.

Calloway County High School Principal Brian Wilmurth said extra guidance counselors would be at the school today to talk with students who may be grieving.

"Students, young adults, don't always handle grief in the same manner as adults, most of the time because they just haven't experienced losing a close friend or a loved one," Wilmurth said. "Because of that, you have people who have taken classes on the adolescent greiving process and the stages of grief and we will have extra counselors on-hand today for students who do need assistance."

Wilmurth said the extra counselors would be counselors and school psychologists from around the region, as well as area youth ministers who might have already worked with some of the students before.

"Sometimes students feel more comfortable talking to someone who they have a relationship with other than maybe me or the school counselor, so we have a couple of area youth ministers that will be on-hand this morning as well," he said.

Wilmurth said he expected some counselors to still be at the school tomorrow, depending on how everything goes today.

Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Resources assisted KSP with the non-criminal death investigation because it was hunter-related, said Sgt. Garry Clark of KFWR.

Patterson is also a firearms instructor for KSP Post 1. He said that although a minor apparently fired the shot, a fatal accident can happen to anyone who isn't being careful about where his or her gun is pointed.

"Not just young people, even old people, people who have been around guns their entire life, they always have to be aware of where their muzzle is, where the gun is pointed," Patterson said. "Because sometimes things do happen like what happened this weekend, and whatever is on the other side of that muzzle is going to be shot. When I'm on the firing range, I always preach muzzle awareness, muzzle awareness. Know where you're pointing your gun.".

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