BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A Mobile man is being charged in a shooting that left an 11-year-old boy dead during a turkey hunt, authorities said Tuesday.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said Joshua Stewart Burks, 35, is being charged with reckless manslaughter in the death of Troy Ellis of Trussville. The child’s father, Obed Ellis was also injured in the shooting,
Authorities say the child was shot while a group was hunting turkeys in Jefferson County on Friday. A sheriff’s statement said an investigation showed the man should be charged.
Our news partners AL.com report the father, son, Burks and another man began turkey hunting at daylight Friday on Ellis’ hunting land. The hunt was organized by a group that sponsors hunts for wounded veterans and Ellis was acting as a guide.
Burks, an amputee, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and a middle school teacher in Mobile County. He is expected to surrender to the Jefferson County Jail on a $15,000 bond.
A lawyer for Burks, Jonathan C. McCardle, told AL.com the shooting was an accident.
“Mr. Burks in no manner intended for this horrible accident to occur and feels extreme sorry and hurt for the Ellis family,’’ said his attorney, Jonathan C. McCardle. “While I feel criminal charges should not have been brought forth here, we look forward to working with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office in bringing a resolution for all involved in this horrible accident.”
Troy attended Cahaba Elementary School. “We were devastated to hear about the hunting accident and the loss of our precious 5th grade student. Any loss of life is tragic, especially during these times of isolation when we can’t grieve together,” said Trussville City Schools Superintendent Pattie Neill. “The Ellis family and the Cahaba family are in our thoughts and prayers, and we are reaching out to help in any way we can.”
A GoFundMe to help the family has already raised more than $45,000. A vigil held Sunday night outside the family’s Trussville home drew hundreds.
A graveside service will be held on Wednesday, May 6, at 1 p.m. in Wetumpka.