Hunting gunshot victims hope for tighter recreation laws - - The News for South Mississippi

Hunting gunshot victims hope for tighter recreation laws

By Sylvia Hall – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Of all the possible interruptions to a quiet November trail ride, gunfire was the least expected.  But only after only a few miles, it was gunfire from hunters that almost turned Rebecca and Jordan Kelly's ride into tragedy.

"I felt something funny under my leg and I knew I had been hit, and then Jordan started screaming that she had been hit," said Rebecca. 

"I got shot in the chest and the doctors told me it was two inches away from my heart," said 11-year-old Jordan. 

Jordan spent four nights at Oschner's Hospital, leaving staggering medical bills that are still mounting for the family.  The McLeod Masonic Lodge spent their Saturday serving up hot lunches to help temper the cost.

Kendall Cruthirds organized the event, held at the Latimer Community Center.  In addition to lunch, participants also had the chance to bid on a range of items donated by various businesses in a silent auction.

"When you're in a community and you have neighbors, you try to help each other," said Cruthirds.  "That's what the whole human species is supposed to do, is to help each other."

The Kelly family said they're overwhelmed by the support from their peers, but it's support Rebecca, a hunter herself, never thought they family would need.

"We went to Bigfoot horse trail, we thought that that's where we should be riding since it was a designating horseback riding area," said Rebecca.  "I just did not know that area had hunters anywhere near it or I would not have been there that day."

Rebecca and Jordan want their story to be the last of its kind.  They've spoken with legislators, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and other agencies to make sure a terrifying accident like theirs doesn't happen again.

"The hunters need to have their areas, the riders need to have their areas, the ATV riders need to have their areas," said Rebecca.  "You know, everybody needs to have a safe place where they can enjoy their activities.  But we can't intermingle the activities and expect for nobody to get hurt."  

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