TYLER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - An 18-year-old Louisiana man died Saturday after he was shot in the stomach in what authorities believe was a tragic hunting accident.
Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford said the victim was Dane Marcotte, of Ville Platte, Louisiana.
"Based on witness statements and ballistic testing, this appears to be a tragic accident," Weatherford said.
Weatherford said his deputies responded to a 911 call about a gunshot victim around 6 p.m. Saturday night. On County Road 4070 in the Forest Hill area. When they arrived on the scene, they found Marcotte lying in the back of a truck. He had a gunshot wound to his stomach, and Weatherford said the young man was shot by a .300-caliber Weatherby Magnum deer rifle.
Weatherford said Marcotte was shot by his cousin, Ricky Woodruff III, 18, also of Ville Platte, Louisiana. The sheriff said the cousins lived together and had planned to go to college together.
According to witness statements, Marcotte and Woodruff were in separate deer stands in the same vicinity of the woods, Weatherford said. The sheriff said the two young men had been texting back and forth and that Marcotte had texted that he was going to walk over and meet Woodruff at his deer stand.
Weatherford said that Woodruff told them that he saw a flash of white, and he fired one round because he thought it was the back side of a deer.
After he was shot in the stomach, Marcotte shouted, "Ricky" and fell to the ground, Weatherford said.
An autopsy has been ordered in the case. Marcotte's body will be sent to the Southeast Texas Forensics Center in Beaumont, Weatherford said.
Tyler County Sheriff's investigators will present their evidence to the district attorney's office as they always do in fatal shooting incidents, Weatherford said. He said although the shooting appears to be accidental, Woodruff could be charged with negligent homicide.
"We have to wait and see what the grand jury does," Weatherford said.
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