Funeral services for 12-year old James Lee Parker will be held at 2 p.m. today at Tarboro Church of God. Parker died Friday when he was accidentally shot by an uncle while hunting near Wake Forest.
He was the son of Jimmie Parker and Dorothy Bullock and was a sixth-grader at Phillips Middle School.
According to reports from the Wake County Sheriff’s Department, the accident occurred shortly before 8 a.m. about 100 yards into the woods on state game land near the B.W. Wells Recreation Center.
The youngster was hunting with his father, uncle and step-brother and had been in the woods since before daylight. The accident occurred when the uncle, 30-year old Jason Matthews Parker of Franklinton, was trying to reload his 12-gauge shotgun when it accidentally discharged and struck the victim in the upper torso.
It was Jimmie Parker who called 911 to report his son’s shooting.
According to authorities, the elder Parker called and was crying as he told dispatchers, “My son is dead in a hunting accident. We were hunting. My son has been shot in a hunting accident.” The father told dispatchers his son wasn’t breathing and was lying limp on the ground.
James was described as a major asset to Phillips Middle School.
“James was an example of a role model student that all teachers and principals want in their school and classroom,” Phillips Principal Donnell Brown said. “He will be extraordinarily missed at Phillips.”
Edgecombe County Public Schools superintendent John Farrelly said this is such a tragic loss. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this time.”
The Edgecombe County Public Schools crisis team will deploy on Wednesday to support the staff and students at the school.
Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison called the shooting “a tragedy.”
According to family members, James loved to hunt. He had told his family that it was so fun.
A spokesman for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, which took over the investigation from the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, said Jason Matthews Parker had an “improperly acquired” hunting license and had not taken the mandatory free hunting education safety course. Wildlife officers said they would the case with the Wake County District Attorney’s Office before deciding whether to press charges.
According to the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, all first-time license buyers must first successfully complete a hunter education course that requires a minimum of 10-hours. The classes are taught by wildlife officers, hunter education specialists and certified volunteer instructors.
Officials say that because of hunter education, hunting accidents have decreased by more than 50 percent during the last 20 years, making hunting one of the safest recreational activities.