A local pastor has died in a hunting tragedy after another hunter mistook him for a coyote and shot him, authorities said.
Alexander County Sheriff Chris Bowman stated that on February 19, 2018, at approximately 5:52 p.m., the Alexander County Communications received a 911 call about a person who had been shot on Edd Burgess Road Extension in Taylorsville.
Sheriff’s Office personnel, Alexander EMS, First Responders, the N.C. Highway Patrol, Alexander Rescue Squad, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Taylorsville Fire, and Taylorsville Police officers responded to the scene.
Upon arrival, officers found Rev. Michael “Seth” Marsh, white male, age 26 of Taylorsville, suffering from several gunshot wounds to the chest area of his body. Evidence showed that Marsh was hunting coyotes and had an electronic coyote call. Marsh had a 12-gauge shotgun and a .22/250 Ruger American bolt action rifle that he was using to hunt coyotes.
When officers arrived on the scene, they encountered a man who was assisting in the medical attention of Rev. Marsh. The man, whose name is not being released, told officers that he heard coyotes screaming in the area. The man believed the coyotes had trapped something and he went to see what was happening. The man said he saw something that looked to him like a coyote that had trapped something in a tree. The man said he fired two shots at the brown and grey movement at the tree. The man had a .223 hunting rifle. When the man realized he had shot Mr. Marsh, he rendered aid, and called 911 for help.
EMS rendered aid on the scene and Rev. Marsh was transported by ambulance to Wake Forest Baptist Health – Wilkes Medical Center. Foggy weather prevented a medical helicopter from responding to the scene, said Bowman. Rev. Marsh was pronounced deceased at the hospital at approximately 8:00 p.m.
Marsh was pastor of Russell Gap Baptist Church, the Sheriff stated. According to the April 12, 2017, issue of The Taylorsville Times, Marsh and his wife, Katy, have two children, Braelynn and Issac. He had been pastor at Russell Gap for approximately one year.
Sheriff Bowman explained that man who fired the fatal shots lived nearby and did not know Marsh was in the area.
Officers with N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are assisting the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office in this investigation.
UPDATE: On February 21, 2018, the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office arrested Ronald Mathew Dunn, age 31 of Taylorsville. Dunn was charged with Involuntary Manslaughter. Dunn was the suspect in the investigation of the shooting death of Rev. Michael Seth Marsh that occurred on February 19, 2018, said Sheriff Bowman. Dunn told authorities that he shot Marsh thinking he was a coyote. Dunn was placed under a $75,000 secure bond and his first court appearance in this case is Monday, February 26, 2018, in Alexander County District Court.