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Friends remember KY teen killed in hunting accident

6:15 PM, Nov 28, 2011   |    comments
  • Memorial to Devin Smith at Middlesboro High School
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A Kentucky teenager was killed over the weekend while hunting with his grandfather.

Claiborne County Sheriff David Ray said 15 year old Devin Smith and his grandfather, Lee Duffield, were hunting on Duffield's property on Anders Road in Tazewell Saturday evening.

David Wayne Rowland, 66, was hunting on an adjacent piece of land. He told investigators he saw brush move, so he lifted his gun and fired. That shot killed Smith.

Smith was a sophomore at Middlesboro High School. Students gathered around the flagpole before the start of school Monday to remember their classmate. By midday signs hanging on the walls outside the school's office were filled with tributes to Smith.

"There were two things in life Devin took seriously, and that was church and ROTC," said Hunter Collett, who calls Smith his best friend.

His passion for church led to Smith's baptism this summer.

"Devin really had a heart for the Lord, and if nobody can say anything else, he loved the Lord," said friend Amanda Roberts, who attended church summer camps with Smith.

That love for the Lord prompted Smith to tell his principal about a new outlook on life, and learning, his pastor said.

"He told her, I'm going to be a different kid, I'm going to try to stay out of trouble this year," said Michael Padgett of Church of God Mountain Assembly

Investigators said Smith and Duffield were not wearing the bright orange that would help distinguish them in the woods.

According to Chester Ellison of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee hunting laws do not require small game hunters to wear orange during big game season. It is open season now for deer, as well as several small animals. TWRA is not sure at this point what Smith and Duffield were hunting. They were carrying a .22 rifle, which would be appropriate for small game, and a .243 high powered rifle, which could be used to hunt deer.

TWRA is working with the Claiborne County Sheriff's Department as the investigation continues.

"There are no charges at this point, however when our investigation is complete, the district attorney general will review that and he will then decide whether or not a charge or charges or what type of charges may be placed," Ray said.

Visitation will be held from 3pm - 8pm Thursday night at Binghamton Baptist Church. The funeral will follow.

Smith will be laid to rest Friday morning.

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