TN: Man critical, shot in Reelfoot hunting area
Local man critical, shot in Reelfoot hunting area
Published: Monday, November 17, 2008 1:41 PM CST
A Paris man was in critical condition this morning at a Memphis
hospital after a suspected hunting accident Saturday.
Insurance agent John Burnett was in critical condition this morning
at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, according to hospital
spokesman Kathy Stringer.
According to Galia Greer of the Paris-Henry County Chamber of
Commerce, where Burnett is a past president, Burnett was shot with a
high-powered rifle while at his duck blind in the Reelfoot Lake area at
the edge of the Tennessee Wildlife Refuge in Obion County.
Greer, who has been in contact with Burnett's family since the
accident, said the bullet hit Burnett in the elbow and abdomen.
"They took a vein out of his leg to put in his arm to regain
circulation in the arm," she said.
Another surgery was scheduled for today, she said.
Burnett is an Obion County native who works at Consolidated Insurance
in Paris. He is a former Paris Special School District board member.
Calls to the TWRA office, the Obion County Sheriff's Department and
the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation were not returned by press time
By GLENN TANNER
P-I Staff Writer
Authorities are asking for help from the public as they investigate
the Saturday shooting of a former Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce
president at Reelfoot Lake.
John Burnett, 45, of Paris was in critical condition this morning at
the Regional Medical Center in Memphis.
He had been airlifted to the hospital Saturday, after initially being
treated at Baptist Hospital at Union City.
Chief Deputy Kent Treece of the Obion County Sheriff's Office said
Burnett was shot in the Walnut Log area of Reelfoot Lake as he attempted
to inspect his duck blind.
At the time of the shooting, Burnett was with his nephew, Luke
Burnett, and his nephew's friends Chris Sisk and Blake Turner.
"They were unarmed," Treece said. "They were walking through an area
of Reelfoot Lake in an attempt to get to their duck blind."
The four were on foot because drought conditions had lowered the lake
level in that area, making the blind unreachable by boat.
"They were walking in to see if there was a possibility they could
hunt, and they actually never made it to the blind when the incident
happened," Treece said.
Treece said Burnett was hit in the left arm by a rifle-caliber
weapon, Treece said. According to information provided to the
Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, he was also wounded in the
"We received a phone call through 911 at about 2:47 p.m. Saturday
afternoon," Treece said. "We had a deputy respond to the scene. He spoke
to the individual that actually called 911, who said the individual had
been taken by private vehicle to the hospital in Union City."
After driving his uncle to the hospital, Luke Burnett returned to
Reelfoot Lake with Obion County Sheriff's deputies.
"Once they got back to the scene, he described specifically the area
they were in where Mr. Burnett was shot," Treece said.
According to Treece, land at Reelfoot Lake falls into three
categories: Federal wildlife refuge land, managed by the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service; state land, managed by the Tennessee Wildlife
Resources Agency; and private property.
"The area that he was in was in one of those areas where national
Fish and Wildlife property abuts state Wildlife Resources Agency
property," Treece said.
After both game agencies were notified, they each brought in their
own investigators. USFWS brought in the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
while TWRA brought in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Representatives from the five organizations involved met at the Obion
County Sheriff's Office, and started a joint investigation.
Treece said the investigation hasn't turned up anything yet, but is
"We're still following up on any information that we are receiving
from several individuals," he said. "We're following up on any tidbit of
information that we can get right now."
Treece encouraged anyone with information about the shooting to
"If anyone that happened to be in that area that has seen or heard
anything at all, no matter how insignificant they may think it is,
either contact the Sheriff's office here (at 731-885-5832), or the TWRA
office (at 800-372-3928)," he said.