A McMinn County man was fatally injured Saturday night after when an acquaintance fired a shot gun that exploded, and struck the victim in the neck.
McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy confirms that 48-year-old Jeffrey Watson of Calhoun was celebrating the New Year around midnight at his home with some friends. Witnesses at the scene say 31-year-old Benjamin David Ware was firing a 12 gauge shotgun into the woods when it exploded.
Sheriff Guy says that Watson was apparently standing near Ware when the gun exploded, and a piece of metal struck Watson in the neck.
McMinn County emergency crews immediately responded to the scene. Watson was then taken to Athens Regional Medical Center, where he later died.
County officials are currently investigating the case. They say alcohol was present, but they aren't sure yet if it was a factor in the incident. Detectives say at this point, they don't know what caused the shotgun to explode.
No charges have been filed at this time.