NORTON, Mass. — An off-duty trooper mistook a 66-year-old Norton woman and her two dogs for a deer Saturday and shot her with a black powder rifle, just minutes before hunting season was to end, state police confirmed Sunday.
The trooper was identified Sunday by Norton police as John Bergeron, 50. Police said Bergeron, a veteran trooper, rushed to Cheryl Blair’s side and administered first aid, in addition to calling 911.
Norton, state and environmental police have ruled the shooting accidental. Bergeron allegedly told investigators he had seen a deer in the same wooded area of Oak Street earlier Saturday and fired one round when he thought he spotted a tail. Norton police said no violations were found and no charges will be filed.
State police spokesman David Procopio did not identify Bergeron by name because he faces no charges, but said the trooper is assigned to Troop C, which covers Central Massachusetts.
“He faces no charges and no internal investigation,” Procopio said in a statement. “The incident occurred while he was deer hunting while off duty. He was properly permitted, in-season, and in an appropriate area for deer hunting. The victim was hit in the torso. Upon immediately realizing what had happened, the trooper called the incident in himself and administered medical aid to the woman until EMS arrived.”
Blair remained at Rhode Island Hospital as of Sunday night. Procopio said her injuries are not considered life-threatening. The shooting occurred at 4:55 p.m., 17 minutes after sunset. Deer hunting with black powder rifles expired at 5:08 p.m. Saturday.
(c)2012 the Boston Herald
Distributed by MCT Information Services.