A father accidentally shot and killed his 28-year-old son during a hunting trip at dusk in Ohio after mistaking him for a deer.
Authorities from the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office said that Bradley Smith, 63, apparently mistook his son, Andrew Smith for a deer while hunting around 5.45pm on December 2.
Deputies said the father and son were out hunting in a wooded area in the 2000 block of Pollock Road, outside Delaware, Ohio, when the accident occurred.
Daily Mail reports that they were with a group of friends, who are all considered experienced hunters and had met up to hunt there for more than 20 years.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, Bradley explained to authorities that his son was not wearing any orange hunting clothing when the shooting occurred that evening.
Hunters are legally required to wear orange during deer-gun season while hunting from 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset in Ohio, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
Andrew was pronounced dead at the scene.
‘It’s just the worst kind of tragedy,’ Tracy Whited, spokeswoman for the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office told the newspaper. ‘He thought he was shooting at a deer. It was his son.’
Authorities said the Smiths were out hunting white-tailed deer during the state’s annual deer gun-hunting week.
According to an obituary, Andrew who also went by the nickname AJ, attended Lincoln College in Illinois.
He played baseball for the Lynx and graduated in 2014.
His family said he lived in Lincoln for several years, working for the college and joining the Lincoln Rural Fire Protection District as a volunteer fire fighter.
He later left the area for Arizona, where he lived for two years, before returning to Ohio to attend the State of Ohio Fire Academy in Reynoldsburg. He graduated in 2018.
From there, he worked for the Oberlin Fire Department in 2018 and 2019. AJ moved to Columbus in 2019 and worked as an independent contractor until his death.
He is survived by his parents, Bradley and Kathy Allan Smith, his sister Bailey K. Meluch and several other family members.