Last week, an Ohio family is mourning after a dad accidentally shot and killed his son while they were out hunting.
Delaware County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Tracy Whited confirms, Bradley Smith, 63, fatally shot his son, Andrew “AJ” Smith, 28, on Dec. 2., calling the incident “the worst kind of tragedy.”
Whited states how the father was with a group of friends hunting white-tailed deer during Ohio’s annual deer gun-hunting week when AJ arrived at the location. Bradley then mistook him for a deer and shot him, killing him.
Dispatchers received a call at 5:45 p.m. notifying them of the accident, which occurred in a wooded area along Pollock Road.
And while the group was experienced and Bradley had been hunting with his son since he was 7 years old, Whited says AJ was not wearing any orange hunting gear at the time of the shooting.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife requires hunters to wear orange clothing during deer gun season beginning 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
The sun set that evening around 5 p.m. according to CBS affiliate WBNS. Whited says that while Bradley is not facing charges for the shooting, “but as is standard with death investigations, the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office is reviewing the case.”
AJ was living and working in Columbus as an independent contractor at the time of his death according to his obituary.
The former baseball player graduated from Lincoln College in Illinois in 2014, later going on to work for the college. He then joined the Lincoln Rural Fire Protection District as a volunteer firefighter.
A few years later, AJ returned to Ohio, where he attended the State of Ohio Fire Academy in Reynoldsburg.
And after his graduation from the academy, AJ worked for the Oberlin Fire Department for a year before moving to Columbus in 2019.
Funeral services will be held for AJ on Saturday at Dicken Funeral Home & Cremation Service in Elyria.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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