Local News

Hunter tells 911 dispatcher his friend shot Bragg soldier

Posted January 6, 2011 12:15 p.m. EST
Updated January 6, 2011 6:01 p.m. EST

— A Fort Bragg soldier whose body was found Saturday on a public hiking and biking trail on post was accidentally shot by a hunter, according to a 911 call released Thursday.

Capt. Jeremiah D. Sipes, 33, of Belgrade, Mont., died of a single gunshot wound, Army officials have said.

A spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigative Command, which is looking into Sipes' death, said Wednesday that a hunter found Sipes' body near the intersection of Plank and King roads at the western edge of Fort Bragg. The Army hasn't declared the death a hunting accident, but the spokesman said they were looking into that possibility.

The man who called 911 shortly before 11 a.m. Saturday was out of breath and upset during the two-minute call.

"We got an emergency here on Fort Bragg. We got a guy that's been shot," the caller said. "It's (on the) All American Trail. We were in here hunting, and a guy was running down the fire break. We jumped a deer, and this guy with me shot him, shot the guy. We need some help quick."

In hunting parlance, "jumping a deer" means to spook an animal so it will run.

All American Trail is closed to the public during deer hunting season, which runs Oct. 2 through Jan. 1, the day of the shooting, according to Fort Bragg officials. Signs at each trail head and online to note the closures, officials said.

It was unclear if Sipes might have accessed the trail in an area where there were no signs.

Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum said such an incident has never happened before, and officials are reviewing policies to help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

"What we're starting to do is look at all of our safety procedures. What can we do to ensure a situation like this doesn't happen again?" McCollum said.

Sipes, a graduate of Montana State University, was the squadron intelligence officer for 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. He is survived by his wife, Heather, and two children, Hallie and Kellan.