Family outing turns tragic

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 23, 2004

HARRELLSVILLE – A family outing took a tragic turn near here Saturday afternoon.

Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan reported that a Windsor, Va. man was accidentally shot and killed by his eight-year-old son while they were involved in target practice at the Cedric Pierce hunting preserve, located on Archertown Road between Harrellsville and Cofield.

The incident occurred at approximately 12:35 p.m.

According to Sheriff Vaughan, Wayland Thomas Joyner III of Windsor, Va. was visiting the preserve with his two sons, ages 8 and 13, where they were shooting targets at a practice range.

&uot;Apparently, the eight-year-old stopped to reload his (.22 caliber) rifle,&uot; said Sheriff Vaughan. &uot;After completing that task, the child stood, turned and the rifle accidentally discharged.&uot;

Vaughan said the bullet struck Joyner in the back of the head. He was transported to Roanoke-Chowan Hospital and then airlifted by EastCare to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville where he died later on Saturday.

The Sheriff ruled the death, &uot;accidental.&uot;

&uot;It’s a very tragic situation,&uot; said Vaughan. &uot;Here was a father attempting to teach his sons how to handle a firearm and something like this happens.&uot;

Sheriff Vaughan closed by saying, &uot;I can only imagine what that family is going through. It just breaks your heart.&uot;

Joyner was a Smithfield, Va. businessman – the owner of an import car repair shop. It is not known if he was a frequent visitor to the Hertford County hunting preserve.