Off-duty trooper mistakes woman for deer in Norton
January 2, 2012
By Marc Larocque, EnterpriseNews.com
A Massachusetts state trooper shot a 66-year-old woman in Norton
on New Year’s Eve, mistaking her dogs for deer in an “apparent
hunting accident,” according to police.
Norton police Lt. Todd Jackson said no violations have been found
and no charges will be filed against John Bergeron, 50.
Bergeron, a Norton resident and a Massachusetts state trooper,
was using a black powder rifle to hunt deer when he shot the woman
at 4:55 p.m. in the area of 98 Oak St. on Saturday.
The woman, 66-year-old Cheryl Blair of Norton, is recovering at
Rhode Island Hospital, Norton police said. Police said her injuries
are not life threatening.
Jackson said in a statement that an investigation by Norton
police, state police assigned to the Bristol County district
attorney’s office and environmental police has “revealed the
shooting to be accidental.”
The shooting took place after sunset and just before black powder
rifle deer hunting season ended on Saturday.
Blair was walking her two dogs on a path when she was shot once
in the abdomen.
Norton police said Bergeron mistook the dogs for deer.
Jackson said police found in their investigation that Bergeron
observed a deer earlier in the day in the general area of where he
“He then observed what he believed to be a deer tail and fired
the statement said. “The victim ... was on a path walking her two
dogs in the same area and was struck by the round. Investigators
believe that Bergeron observed the dogs and believed them to be
Norton police said Bergeron immediately dialed 911 and called
police and fire assistance for Blair.
Jackson said the area where Blair was shot was about one-quarter
mile into the wooded area off Oak Street and at “a safe distance
from any buildings.”
Blair was transported to Rhode Island Hospital by the Norton Fire
Department. It took about a half-hour to get the woman out of the
woods, Jackson said.
Blair was shot by Bergeron about 15 minutes before hunting season
was supposed to end, and Jackson said the incident took place about
17 minutes after sunset. The shooting was reported at 4:55 p.m.,
while according to the Massachusetts Environmental Police, the
season for deer hunting with black powder rifles expired at 5:08
p.m. on Saturday.
State police spokesman David Procopio said Bergeron had a valid
hunting license, and would not face any disciplinary action at work
as a result of the off-duty incident.
Blair’s injury would not be the first mishap to come along with
hunting in southeastern Massachusetts this season. Several other
recent incidents in the region have brought unwanted attention to
On the morning of Nov. 28, when shotgun season was just hours
old, a shotgun round hit a Berkley woman’s house, breaking the
window of a room in which a 95-year-old woman was sleeping.
A day later, a hunter in Dighton was shot through the leg after a
bullet his friend shot went through a deer, then ricocheted off a
rock and hit him in the ankle.
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