Ricocheting bullet struck student on bus
By Rupert Howell
and Billy Davis
A third grade student who was shot Monday afternoon on a South Panola school bus by a deer hunter’s bullet has been released from the hospital.
Michael Perry, 10, came home Wednesday from LeBonheur Children’s Medical Center according to his mother, Wendy Terry.
She said her son will return to school next week but declined to describe his condition.
Authorities have alleged a deer hunter, perched in a deer stand, fired the shot that struck Perry in the back while he was riding bus 071 along Central Academy Road east of Batesville.
The name of the hunter has not been released. He’s said to be cooperating with authorities.
A news release from the sheriff’s department described the hunter as a 73-year-old white man, who was hunting on his property on Cline and Central Academy roads.
Hours after the shooting Sheriff Dennis Darby described the incident as a hunting accident, and District Attorney John Champion said charges have not been ruled out.
Darby said Thursday a reconstruction team from the Miss. Highway Patrol determined the shot bounced off a tree before entering the school bus and striking Perry.
“They reconstructed the scene and found where the bullet hit the tree,” Darby told The Panolian.
One source close to the investigation said hunting violation charges may be forthcoming. The hunter was using a rifle when Mississippi’s deer season had switched to primitive weapons.
Another source said the hunter was unaware anyone had been shot until contacted later Monday night and told of the incident.
At the scene of the accident, school officials surmised that Perry was leaning over the seat in front of him when he was struck. The outcome could have been far worse if he was sitting in his seat, they said.
The school bus had stopped with about 15 students left to deliver home while traveling on Central Academy Road at Cold Springs Road. The shot had hit the bus, traveling north, just seconds before, coming from the east about seven-tenths of a mile back in a clump of woods near Cline Road.
It was then that the driver realized what had happened and summoned authorities.
The sheriff’s department press release said a 911 call was placed at approximately 4:15 Monday afternoon.
The caller advised she heard a possible gunshot and a student on the bus was bleeding.