Hunting accident kills Smithfield teen

Published 7:35 am Wednesday, December 31, 2008

ISLE OF WIGHT—A 17-year-old Smithfield boy was killed Monday morning when he accidentally shot himself in the face with a shotgun while hunting.

Patrick Elido Edwards, of 9290 Moon Light Road, was hunting deer with a 16-year-old friend near the intersection of Moon Light and Mill Swamp roads in the far northern part of the county, according to Isle of Wight County Sheriff C.W. “Charlie” Phelps.

Phelps said Edwards saw a deer coming and was attempting to remove a weapon from his truck when it went off.

Capt. Michael Minarik, law enforcement manager for the regional office of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said the weapon was a 12-gauge shotgun, and it was being stored in a common rack in the back of Edwards’ pickup truck.

Authorities received the first call about the accident at 9:48 a.m., Phelps said.

Phelps said Edwards was declared dead at the scene a medical examiner. Edwards’ body was then transported to the chief medical examiner’s office in Norfolk.

Minarik said Edwards was hunting on a family farm. Phelps said the victim lived across the road and that most family members arrived at the scene after the accident.

The Moonlight Hunt Club is also not far from the scene, but Phelps said Edwards was not a club member and was not hunting with club members at the time of the accident.

“It was a tragic accident,” Phelps said.

Minarik agreed, adding, “it was a horrible, tragic accident, and I feel deeply for the family and the entire community. We beg, plead and implore all hunters to be safe in all aspects of hunting.”

Minarik urged hunters not to transport loaded weapons in a vehicle and to keep the muzzle of all weapons pointed in a safe direction at all times.