Wake Forest, N.C. — Authorities said Friday that a 12-year-old Tarboro boy who was killed while hunting with his family in Wake Forest was accidentally shot by his uncle.
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission officers, who took over the investigation from the Wake County Sheriff's Office, said preliminary findings show 30-year-old Jason Matthews Parker accidentally shot his nephew, James Lee Parker, with a 12-gauge shotgun during the excursion.
A spokesman for the agency said Jason Parker had an "improperly acquired" hunting license and had not taken a mandatory free hunting education course. Wildlife officers plan to discuss the case with Wake County prosecutors before deciding whether to press charges.
James was hunting deer with his father, uncle and 16-year-old cousin when he was shot just before 8 a.m., according to the boy's grandfather, Jimmy Parker III.
James, who had hunted since he was 4 years old, was about 100 yards in the woods near 1617 Bent Road when the shooting occurred.
Authorities released a redacted recording of the 911 call made shortly after the shooting. The sobbing caller tells the dispatcher, "My son is dead in a hunting accident. We were hunting. My son has been shot in a hunting accident."
The caller tells 911 that the boy is not breathing and limp, then begins to weep.
James was a sixth-grader at Phillips Middle School in Edgecombe County, according to his family.
"He loved to hunt. He just went hunting yesterday, actually. He said it was so fun," said Michaela Roberts, James' cousin. "His favorite food was pizza rolls. Last night, we were just hanging out eating pizza rolls from my house, and we were watching TV. It was the funnest time ever, greatest memory. Can’t get it back now."
Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison called the shooting "a tragedy."
"I mean, just imagine, Christmas just over with, a 12-year-old is out, just like my grandson was excited about going hunting with me," Harrison said. "I can’t even imagine the thoughts that would be going through my mind if my grandson had gotten shot."