Local News

Services held for Henderson man killed by stray bullet

Posted September 8, 2009 12:55 p.m. EDT
Updated September 8, 2009 6:27 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.