Local News

Services held for Henderson man killed by stray bullet

Posted September 8, 2009

— Services were held on Tuesday for a World War II veteran and father of five who was killed by a stray bullet near his Henderson home.

Family and friends of John Thomas Satterwhite, 85, gathered at the Gillburg United Methodist Church, 4815 NC-39 Hwy S. in Henderson.

Satterwhite was found dead on a private path near his Tobacco Road residence on Friday afternoon, according to Sheriff Peter White.

Satterwhite had been on his regular walk through a wooded area of his property. His wife, Dixie G. Williamson Satterwhite, went to look for him after he failed to return home after more than three hours.

She found his body along the trail and initially thought her husband, whose health had been failing, had a heart attack. It shocked her to find out the cause of death was a bullet wound to his upper torso.

Through its investigation, the sheriff’s office found that three people had been target practicing near the area where Satterwhite was walking. The three people have been interviewed, White said.

Services held for Henderson man killed by stray bullet Henderson man killed by stray bullet

Dixie G. Williamson Satterwhite said it is common to hear people taking target practice in the area. On the day of her husband's death, she said she heart a lot of shots.

"They sounded like cannon shots to me. They were real loud," Dixie Satterwhite said.

No foul play is suspected and charges have not been filed at this time, White said.

John Satterwhite's son Daniel Satterwhite said accidents happen, but the lesson of being more careful with guns should be learned.

Investigators returned to the scene on Tuesday. Evidence was also being sent to the State Bureau of Investigation crime lab for further evaluation.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Jack Flash Sep 9, 2009

    I'm no fan of the NRA. I have a lot of problems with them. But they were brought into this discussion so pointlessly and ham-handedly that I find myself actually speaking up in their defense. That's pretty pathetic when you pick your moments so poorly that a guy who probably shares a similar view on the NRA with you can't align himself with the other side quickly enough.

  • Southern Girl Sep 8, 2009

    Suspects have been interviewed? Come on, Sheriff White what is the problem with an arrest?

    Mr. Satterwhite is DEAD for God's sake. Do what is right and arrest the ones involved.

    What is taking you so long? Do you have to get your orders from somebody else in this case?

  • Adelinthe Sep 8, 2009

    GoGreen - "Where is the NRA now?"

    Trying to teach hard-headed people how to bear arms responsibly, something these people weren't doing, and trying to teach ignorant people why the right to bear arms should be of critical importance to them.

    God bless.


  • Adelinthe Sep 8, 2009

    Is it really legal to target practice in places where there are people around? I always thought it had to be in designated areas, and if it's not, it certainly should be.

    Praying for this gentleman's loved ones.

    God bless.


  • Myword Sep 8, 2009

    I am always amazed at how many shooters do not realize how far their bullets travel. I like to target shoot outdoors too, but never without a nice hill or bulldozed mound behind the targets. They should be ashamed of being this careless and if they were on his property, they should be charged as well.

  • lizard Sep 8, 2009

    No one can be charged in this incident unless a specific bullet can be traced back to a specific shooter and none of the other shooters fired the weapon. Lots of people switch guns to try out a different gun. If all three fired the gun which killed the man then we still won't know who fired the fatal shot. That would be an adequate defence for whoever is charged. Look for other minor violations being charged like trespassing or something like that. Still,,,civil liability may be there somewhere for all three.

  • grgrowen Sep 8, 2009

    How did the NRA get dragged into this??? I and many others are proud members.
    If this victim was a drive-by at a crack house or God Forbid a little girl next door to the crack house, would the NRA come into play? I think not.Criminals will have weapons regardless of the rules. That what makes them criminals.
    These are obviosly young people who lacked guidance and instruction in the proper use of firearms. I feel for the victims family as well as the shooters that will have to live with this tragedy.
    Before casting stones, get informed.

  • capitalland Sep 8, 2009

    There are some distorted gun laws in Wake Co that are going to promote an accident like this happening. Here in Wake Crossroads we're aproaching 'target practice' season which usually starts on Sunday afternoon when I walk outside to start my grill. Not unusual to hear 9mm gunfire for 2 or 3 hours. Where do my rights start? Obviously not at my property line because noise knows no bountries.

    How about the 'turkey shoot' which starts soon. Its just a matter of time until we have a death there. They can shoot until 11:00pm you know. I go to bed at 10:00. I own guns but don't subject my neighbors to the noise. I go to a legal range to shoot.

  • Da Toy Maker Sep 8, 2009

    Prays are with the victim's family.

    I'm not an NRA member though I have owned guns before. I totally agree that NRA put more effort in gun safety than most any other organization. I've taken NRA course that was the impression I got. True they stretch the "Right to bear Arms" a lot.

    I'm very surprise that no charge is filed though. If nothing else, negligent homicide should be filed. How could one do Target practice near residential area?

  • ckblackm Sep 8, 2009

    Hopefully the shooter will be charged.