Hunter Shot, Killed by Game Warden

Posted on April 12, 2009. Filed under: North Carolina, shot by police |

WILKES COUNTY, N.C. – A wildlife official said a veteran game warden acted in self defense when he shot and killed a hunter on the hunter’s property Saturday, the first day of turkey season.

Officer Mark Minton shot Clyde Coffey around 7:30 a.m. on Coffey’s property north of North Wilkesboro. Minton is a 12-year veteran of the force.

Robbins says the family owns a hunting cabin and about 30 acres in Wilkes County. She said her father was in the place he loved, at his cabin off Cane Creek Church Road. Around 7 a.m., Clyde Coffey and his two grandkids went behind the home at 7 a.m. to hunt turkeys.

“He’s minding his own business sitting in a tree stand. He hadn’t been there long. My dad had a gun, he was turkey hunting! But my dad’s gun never fired. And ther was only two of them there, and my dad’s gone. He can’t tell his side,” said Clyde’s daughter Debbie Robbins.

Officer Minton, a 12-year-veteran of the Law Enforcement Division of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, was on patrol on the opening day of the 2009 spring wild turkey season in North Carolina.

An armed confrontation with a hunter resulted in Officer Minton firing a shot, apparently in self-defense, which led to the death of the alleged assailant,” Penny Miller said in a release from Wildlife Resources Commission.

Robbins said her father was hard of hearing and she’s afraid that may have caused a miscommunication between him and the officer.

“My dad hadn’t saw a ranger in that area in 25 years, so how would he know what one looked like? And if the guy’s telling him who he is, can my dad hear him? Is he walking towards him saying, what? I can’t hear you?,” said Debbie Rollins.

The investigation of the shooting is being conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation, in accordance with prescribed procedures. Officer Minton is currently on paid administrative leave.

Wildlife officers are trained under the state’s Department of Justice standards which give them authoritiy to use deadly force.

The last time a North Carolina Wildlife Officer was involved in a shooting was November 1980 when the officer was killed and the suspect wounded.  More on

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