Unknown 2011-05-07

St. Mary's boy, 11, killed in hunting accident near village

By ROSEMARY SHINOHARA, ADN, Published: May 9th, 2011

An 11-year-old boy in St. Mary's who was hunting a rabbit for his mother for Mother's Day was fatally shot by a 9-year-old girl Saturday, Alaska State Troopers report.

The two children, who were members of the same family, were hunting alone about three-quarters of a mile north of St. Mary's, a village in western Alaska.

Trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen declined to say how they were related.

Just before the accident, the boy spotted a rabbit for the children to shoot, Ipsen said. The 9-year-old told troopers that she fell while handling a shotgun and fatally wounded the boy.

"It was kind of a heavy gun and she was on some tussocks ... and lost balance," Ipsen said.

After trying to give the 11-year-old first aid, the girl ran back to the Lower Yukon River village of roughly 500 people for help. Troopers heard about the incident about 9 p.m. Saturday.

No foul play is suspected, Ipsen said. The case remains open and results of an autopsy are pending.

The boy's relatives have been notified. Troopers have not released the children's names and haven't decided yet whether to do so, Ipsen said.

Under Alaska law, a child younger than 16 years of age must have a parent or guardian's permission to possess a firearm.

Ipsen said it's not uncommon for rural Alaska children to hunt without adults, and the boy was reported to be an experienced hunter for his age.

The children were hunting both rabbit and ptarmigan, she said.

Officials at the village council and elementary school did not return messages Monday afternoon.

Reporter Kyle Hopkins contributed to this story. Reach Rosemary Shinohara at rshinohara@adn.com or 257-4340.