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Teen Charged in Hunting Accident

11/04/2003

A Craven County teenager is facing four misdemeanor charges in connection with an Oct. 21 hunting accident that left a New Bern man shot and wounded.

Matthew R. Davis, 17, of New Bern, faces one count of discharging a firearm while hunting without due caution and in a manner that endangers a person.

The teenager also is charged with one count of failing to wear hunter-orange clothing, one count of making an application for a license for which he was not entitled and one count of engaging in an activity covered under that license.

According to Ryan Taylor, state Wildlife Resources officer, Davis shot and wounded 29-year-old Guy Pepper around 7:10 p.m. Oct. 21 while Pepper was standing along the railroad tracks between the Clarks community and New Bern.

The officer said Pepper was shot once with a 12-gauge shotgun. A family member said Pepper, who works as a physical education teacher at Oaks Road Elementary School, suffered buckshot wounds to his abdomen, groin and thighs.

The incident occurred while Pepper and his brother-in-law, Matt Adams, were hunting in the rural, wooded area. Officers believe Davis was hunting deer there, also.

Taylor also said it appears Pepper was wearing proper hunter-orange.

After the shooting, Adams and Davis loaded the injured Pepper into a Jeep Cherokee and drove him out of the woods, breaking down a gate as they made their way to Clarks Store.

There, they rendezvoused with emergency responders, who treated Pepper before he was flown by EastCare to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville.

Pepper has since been released from the hospital. Efforts to reach him on Monday were unsuccessful.

Carson Elder, principal at Oaks Road Elementary, said Monday that Pepper might be able to return to work next week.

"The kids miss and the faculty misses him," Elder said. "We'll be glad to have him back."

Meanwhile, Davis is scheduled to be in court in January, Taylor said.

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