Johnson County Man Mistaken for Deer Shot & Killed

A Coal Hill man was shot and killed in an apparent hunting accident on Wednesday, according to the Johnson County Sheriff.  

Thomas Edward “Eddie” Sears, 43, was walking beside Horsehead Creek about 10 miles west of Clarksville when he was shot around 12:15 p.m., according to a news release.

Thomas Edward “Eddie” Sears

Witnesses told deputies a resident of a nearby home was sitting in a swing in his backyard when he saw movement by the creek.

The man grabbed a 30-30 rifle and fired a single shot at what he thought was a deer, according to deputies.

The shooter and witnesses heard a yell and found Sears lying by the creek about 144 yards from the residence. 

Investigators later learned the shooter and victim were acquainted, but the sheriff’s office would not specify the nature of the relationship.

Sears was unarmed and was not wearing hunting gear. According to the sheriff he was wearing blue jeans, a tan hat and a camouflage jacket. It is unclear why he was by the creek.

“This is not like a wide walking trail he was on that’s completely cleared,” said Sheriff Jimmy Dorney. “This was a pretty brushy, really grown up area in there. We’re trying to find out why Mr. Sears was actually in that area.”

Sears was pronounced dead on the scene by a coroner. His body has been sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for an autopsy, according to Sheriff Dorney.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas State Police and Arkansas Game and Fish are investigating the shooting. No arrest has been made.

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