USDA Forest Service Officer Down

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by G27Chief, Mar 7, 2010.

  1. G27Chief

    G27Chief Lifetime Member

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    http://www.13wmaz.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=75897&catid=7

    :fallenofficer: Prayers to Officer Christopher Arby Upton's family.


    USDA Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer Christopher Arby Upton, 37, of Monroe Georgia was shot and killed by a hunter who was coyote hunting and mistook him for game at the Ocmulgee Bluff Equestrian Recreation Area in Jasper County around 11 p.m. Friday, according to Robin Hill, Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

    The recreational area is located on the Oconoee Ranger District of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.

    Two people were hunting coyote with a high-powered rifle equipped with night vision and apparently mistook the officer for game, after the shooting, the hunters dialed 911 and reported a hunting incident, according to a Georgia DNR news release.

    The release said the shooter, Norman Clinton Hale, 40, of McDonough, GA, and an observer Clifford Allen McGouirk, 41, of Jackson, GA, are being investigated.



    "This is a tragic incident where the loss of a Federal officer's life could have been avoided," said Steven Ruppert, Special Agent-in-Charge for the Southern Region of the Forest Service, "This is a devastating loss for Chris' family, our agency, other law enforcement officers and his friends and neighbors in Monroe."

    Hill said Upton was shot one time, in the head and died immediately.

    "The standard procedure for a hunter is to identify your target and then shoot," said Homer Bryson, Law Enforcement Colonel for Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, "The hunter failed to do this and mistook the officer for game. He then shot and instantly killed the officer."





    "The investigation is being conducted jointly by the Forest Service and Georgia DNR," said Hill.



    Hill said no charges have been made.



    According to the release, Upton was a 4-year veteran of the Forest Service and had previously worked as a game warden for the Department of Defense, US Marine Corps, at Beaufort, South Carolina, and as a conservation officer, game warden and pilot with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.



    He is survived by his wife, Jessica, and a 4-year-old daughter, Annabelle.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2010
  2. Narc1911

    Narc1911 Anchora Salutis

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  3. pgg00

    pgg00

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  4. Gangrel

    Gangrel

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    I've met a USDAFS 1811 before, who used to be in the uniformed division. They have can some rough jobs, out there alone. Rest in Peace.
     
  5. RussP

    RussP Super Moderator Moderator

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  6. Dragoon44

    Dragoon44 Unfair Facist Lifetime Member

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    How in the hell do you mistake a man for a coyote?? Wonder how much the intrepid coyote hunters had to drink while out hunting?

    He should be behind bars.

    R.I.P Officer
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2010
  7. merlynusn

    merlynusn

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  8. wprebeck

    wprebeck Have you seen me?

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    Same as any other idiot in the woods has mistaken a person for a deer or turkey:

    They shoot at the first sign of noise or movement in the bushes, instead of waiting for a positive ID of the target. Dumbasses.

    These so-called "hunters" failed to do that, costing a man his life. Idiots should be locked up, as it wasn't an accident. They intentionally fired a gun at a target that they didn't have a positive ID on. While definitely not murder, there should be a relevant charge for it. In Kentucky, reckless homicide would be appropriate; maybe a manslaughter charge. I'm not too familiar with those particular statutes.
     
  9. Dragoon44

    Dragoon44 Unfair Facist Lifetime Member

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    Maybe,but it does not sound like your run of the mill hunting accident with a head shot. and on top of that it was apparently at night and they were using night vision scopes. I looked thru a lot of night vision scopes in dark rural areas while engaged in surveillance. I find it hard to believe that someone could mistake a human head for an animals head.

    I would not however be surprised if the idiot actually scoped the ranger with his gloved booger hook on the trigger and was "surprised" when the rifle went bang.
     
  10. 4949shooter

    4949shooter

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  11. Detectorist

    Detectorist

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    Very tragic. The shooter should be charged and convicted of a felony so he can never own a gun.

    RIP Officer
     
  12. 4949shooter

    4949shooter

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    Yes there might be more to the story than we know.

    Coyote hunters who hunt at night normally observe eyes and shoot at same, which could explain the head shot.

    But target identification SHOULD be the #1 priority of night predator hunters.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2010
  13. Sundown

    Sundown

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    Proper target identification should be the number one priority for anyone pulling a trigger, regardless of any other circumstances.

    Godspeed my friend.
     
  14. OXCOPS

    OXCOPS

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    My crystal ball sees manslaughter charges (at least) in the near future.
     
  15. 4949shooter

    4949shooter

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    Here is another article:

    http://www.13wmaz.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=75897&catid=175A U.S. Forestry officer died after a hunter accidentally shot him.

    The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says 37-year-old Christopher Upton was shot at the Ocmulgee Bluff Equestrian Recreation Area in Jasper County while on routine patrol.

    Ranger First Class Wil Smith says Friday night was a routine shift on the the job for Upton until two men hunting coyote in the same area, mistook him for their game.

    "It really brings those thoughts to the front of your mind," say Smith. "It makes you alert to the potential hazards in this job."

    Smith says the shooter, 40-year-old Norman Clinton Hale of McDonough, did not identify what he was shooting at.

    "In the dark, the night vision scope reflected in Officer Upton's eyes," says Smith. "It may have appeared that he was a coyote."

    Smith says, when working at night, rangers aren't required to wear reflective clothing or any other equipment to help stand out in the darkness.

    "At times it's necessary for officers to be secluded whenever they're on patrol," says Smith, a DNR Ranger for 5-years. "Reflective garments aren't always a tool that we would use."

    He says Upton was shot once and died instantly. Hale and his hunting partner, 41-year-old Clifford Allen McGouirk of Jackson dialed 911 and reported the incident.

    As a state ranger, Smith says, working near firearms at night is part of the job. Ultimately, he says, it's up to the hunter to be sure exactly what is in his line of fire and beyond.

    Hunter and horseback-rider Daniel Daughtry says it's a rule every hunter should know.

    "That's why when you take your hunter safety course they teach you--know darn sure what you're shooting at before you squeeze the trigger," says Daughtry, who's visited the national forest for more than 12 years. "If you're not sure, it's just best to let the game go."

    A basic rule that was ignored in this case, says Ranger Smith--a mistake that cost a 4-year veteran of the Forest Service his life.

    The U.S. Forest Service and the State DNR are still investigating the two hunters. No charges have been made
     
  16. op2k

    op2k

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    :fallenofficer:

    Still sounds weird to me, head shot that is. The article says "hunter accidentally shot", it should read "negligently shot".
     
  17. Dragoon44

    Dragoon44 Unfair Facist Lifetime Member

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    it doesn't make much sense to me. two hunters out in the dark and they don't notice a vehicle pull up anywhere near them?

    Surely the ranger was not walking miles from his vehicle. And a hunter cannot tell the difference between a pair of eyes 5-6 feet off the ground as opposed to those of a coyote that at most is what? two feet off the ground?
     
  18. obxemt

    obxemt Chaplain of CT

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    My initial reaction is to call bull on this one.

    My three-year-old daughter can differentiate dozens and dozens of animals. In fact, she can discern the difference between wolfs, coyotes, foxes, and dogs. She can even tell mules from donkeys from horses, and cops from firemen from EMTs. A grown man can't tell a coyote from a federal wildlife officer?

    Special prayers for and shared grief with his wife, Jessica, and most especially his 4-year-old daughter, Annabelle, who no doubt is confused and grief-stricken.

    :crying: :sadangel: :fallenofficer:
     
  19. Hack

    Hack Crazy CO Gold Member

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  20. ditchdoc24

    ditchdoc24

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    :fallenofficer:

    I live in Jasper County and just heard about this last night. I didn't know Officer Upton but several of my friends who work for our local SO did. They said he was a good officer and a great guy to work with. Prayers sent for Officer Upton and his family.