Former Franklin man doesn’t blame teen for brother’s death

Published 8:17 am Friday, April 30, 2010

FRANKLIN—Sid Rader holds no ill-will toward the 17-year-old who shot and killed his only brother, Alan, while turkey hunting near the Southampton-Sussex County line Saturday.

“I can’t imagine what’s going through his mind,” Rader said. “I can’t feel any hate or animosity. I hope and pray he can overcome the grief he is suffering.”

Joey Holland, who called Franklin native Alan Rader a father figure and was with Rader at Flag Tail Hunt the Club when he died, feels sorry for the teen, who knew the victim. The shooter’s grandfather, like Alan Rader, belonged to club where the shooting occurred.

“There’s no blame in this situation at all. It’s a tragic, tragic accident,” said Holland, a nearby resident and another club member.

During Alan Rader’s funeral at 11 a.m. Saturday at Wright Funeral Home in Franklin, the 61-year-old’s wildlife mounts will be displayed. That’s because Alan Rader, who lived with his brother in Virginia Beach, was a man who lived to hunt.

“If he wasn’t at my house, he was at the hunt club,” Sid Rader said. “He would go there and literally live for four to five weeks straight during the hunting season.”

Sons of the late Ecil and Ann Elizabeth Rader, the brothers were 13 months apart; Alan was the older. They grew up in Hunterdale.

Alan Rader was 9 or 10 when his dad started taking him hunting for deer and small game. He continued hunting as an adult.

While in the Air Force, Alan Rader served two tours in Alaska.

“He hunted caribou, bear — whatever he could shoot, he hunted,” Sid Rader said. “I remember going to pick up a package in Norfolk. It was a bear he had turned into a rug.”

Alan Rader continued hunting while living in Texas, and Monroe and Shreveport, La. He also fished and had his trophies mounted.

“He was divorced, and in his last marriage all of his belongings went in one room — a garage turned into a den. He called it the ‘Gungaden.’ It’s where all of his mounts, his gun cases, his snake skins and turkey feathers (were kept).”

The brothers were raised with religion, yet Alan Rader practiced his own form.

“We had a strong foundation of being raised in the church,” Sid Rader said. “It wasn’t of his opinion that you had to be in church to be accepted by God. He was at peace with nature. You were as close to God as you could be.”

As for what happened Saturday, investigators with Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said the boy was set up to hunt in a wooded area on the edge of a field where turkeys had been.

The victim had been turkey hunting in the area and was coming through the woods behind the shooter. Each other was not aware that the other was there.

“The boy was hunting with his grandfather and had seen a turkey go into the woods where Alan was coming through,” Holland said. “The boy thought it was the turkey coming back to him.”

“Alan had no idea the boy was hunting in the area,” Holland continued. “If he did, he would’ve stopped.”

A Suffolk firefighter and member of Capron Volunteer Rescue Squad, Holland was nearby when the shot was fired and heard a scream.

“I knew something had happened,” the 29-year-old said. “I saw a young man come out of the woods running toward me. He said ‘I shot Alan.’”

Holland found the victim, called 911 and administered first-aid.

“I did everything I could,” he said. “Alan knew I was there. He would say my name. By the time the ambulance started, it was too late. Alan was gone. He passed away in the woods, doing what he wanted to, and when he passed away, he had a good friend with him.”