Classmates mourn 8-year-old boy killed in hunting accident
November 28, 2011
By Cliff Pyron, WWAYTV3.com
CLINTON, NC (WWAY) -- An eight-year-old boy died Friday after a
hunting accident in Bladen County. Family and friends gathered in
Clinton for James Ethan Bartley's funeral today. Meanwhile, his
friends at school mourned their classmate.
"He felt like a brother to me," friend and classmate Taleb
"He felt like a brother to me, because we always played football
An empty desk in Mrs. Wells's homeroom class served as a reminder
of the loss Butler Avenue School suffered over the long holiday
Bartley died Friday while hunting with two other boys off Soup
Haire Road near Elizabethtown. One of the boys dropped a .22-caliber
rifle, which went off and shot Bartley in the side. He was airlifted
to Chapel Hill, where he later died.
"It has been an unfortunate tragedy for all of us," principal
Vanessa Brown said. "On Wednesday you tell the students, you know,
they're going to have a holiday and for them to have a safe holiday,
and that you'll see them on Monday. Then to have something of this
magnitude to happen before you could even get back on Monday... One
thing I can say about Ethan is that he was a student that always had
a smile on his face. The children loved him. The staff loved him.
Everyone loved him."
As his family grieves, so does his elementary school. Students
and teachers at Butler Avenue School wore green ribbons today in
honor of Bartley. With the memories fresh in their minds, emotions
"He's going to be greatly missed," teacher Karen Randleman said.
"He was a true asset to both of our classes, and he is going to be
very much missed by faculty, staff, as well as all of his friends
and peers in his classroom."
Bartley's family did not want to talk Monday, and his friends at
school understand why.
"I really am sorry for his family's loss," Thompson said.
The Bladen County Sheriff's Office says the accident is still
under investigation. The Bladen County Department of Social Services
and North Carolina Wildlife officers are also investigating.
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