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Updated: Woman Accidentally Shot by Hunter Recovering

Woman shot by muzzleloader in hunting accident in Norton.

At 4:55 p.m., Norton Police and Fire responded to a hunting accident in the vicinity of 98 Oak St.

A woman was injured in the accident by a muzzle loader, a single-shot rifle, and was transported to Rhode Island Hospital. Though the incident is still under investigation, Lt. Todd Jackson of Norton Police Department said it was most likely just an accident.

According to a report from the Sun Chronicle, the woman was shot in the abdomen.

UPDATE 10:18 p.m.: A preliminary investigation reveals that a hunter shot at what he believed to be a deer. The female victim, a 66-year-old Norton resident, was walking her two dogs on a path in the same area when she was struck.  The hunter, also a Norton resident, immediately called 911 and police and fire personnel were dispatched. Norton fire personnel extracted the woman from the wooded area and transported her to Rhode Island Hospital. The incident remains under investigation by Detective James Franco, along with State and Environmental Police.

Jan. 1, 12:58 p.m.: The investigation by Norton Police, State Police assigned to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office and Environmental Police has revealed the shooting to be accidental. Investigators state the hunter, John Bergeron, age 50, of Norton, observed a deer earlier in the day in the general area of the incident. He then observed what he believed to be a deer tail and fired one round. The victim, Cheryl Blair, age 66, of Norton, was on a path walking her two dogs in the same area and was struck by the round. 

Investigators believe that Bergeron observed the dogs and believed them to be deer. Bergeron immediately called 911 and summoned police and fire assistance for Blair.

The area of the incident was approximately one quarter mile into the wooded area off Oak Street and a safe distance from any buildings.

 No violations have been found and no charges will be filed. Blair is recovering at Rhode Island Hospital.

UPDATE 3:45 p.m. Both the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe are reporting Bergeron is a state police officer, assigned to Troop C out of Central Massachusetts.

Mark Stoughton January 03, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Getting the state to change their rules is like howling at the tide. The place to take up changing the rules is Town Meeting. While I have nothing against hunters, or their rights to hunt, their rights have to end where my right to live safely in my own back yard begin. The town has grown considerably in the last 20 years or so. Many of our neighborhoods are now dangerously close to hunting areas. I don't know if our local hunting regulations have been updated in that time, but with more an more houses being built, it's time to revisit them. We're still rural enough that an outright ban may be overkill, but we should look at restricting hunting zones in town.
DJ January 03, 2012 at 06:07 PM
I agree with Mark. In fact, the Senate actually reviewed a bill last year that would REDUCE the currant law standards. I don't know how far it got, but it was well supported. Like other Towns, local bylaws are the way to go. I just listened to the released 911 tape and it was very emotional. I'm sure it was released to aide the trooper as you can hear his pain and remorse, but I do not feel that releases him from wrongdoing. The victims husband also was reported today as seeking a more thorough investigation even though he believed it was an accident. It will be interesting to see where this goes.
Tanya Willow January 03, 2012 at 06:37 PM
This was no accident but an inevitability. The population in Norton is simply too dense for hunting to continue and to suggest that we need to wear orange between October and December while walking our own yards is ludicrous. To protect their sport hunters are blaming this particular hunter. But he is experienced and a state trooper so he’s received more training than most trouncing through our backyards with shotguns. This was simply an accident waiting to happen. If something isn’t changed the next victim will be one of our kids. Hunters have a tremendous lobby. Legislators will always side with whatever group they feel will keep them in office. I think the criticism is fair made earlier that we would have an army of cruisers come down to our neighborhood if kids had beer in the woods but a report that men armed with shotguns in the woods near our swing sets, golf course and walking paths is met with a terse: you’re fine lady. It’s huntin’ season. I have no idea how those of us who listen to the terrifying sound of shotguns being released near our homes can stop this practice. But someone who understands the process needs to come forward. Then those of us with kids, who golf, jog and walk dogs need to find the guts to fight this intrenched belief that hunting deer in our back yards is some kind of American frontier, near religious right, as apposed to the deadly practice that it is.
Rafael Ortiz-Vazquez January 04, 2012 at 09:05 PM
I have written a few comments on this matter. The Norton Police has said that John Bergeron was properly licensed. Now the talk is about deer license. He mistook the dogs for deer. Well, unless you have a doe permit, you can not shoot at anterless deer. So besides shooting a person, did he have a permit for doe. If not, then he was poaching. He did not properly ID the game and did not check for buck or doe (if he did not have a anterless permit, which means he was NOT properly licensed). If I was a family member, I would be enraged the way the Norton Police is handling this. For the sake of the family and public, charges must be brought against John Bergeron and he has to answer to them in a Court of Law. This whole matter really gets to me the way I read/hear in the news how it is been handled.
espur January 07, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Has this issue now died? Has the Norton PD grown a set and charge John Bergeron for his wrecklessness. As a trooprer isn't he suppose to be a competant person? Maybe the Norton PD be up on charges for their incompetence?

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