It is unclear when the letter arrived at the Ohio sheriff’s office, but authorities say the note was a brief apology for the shooting death of a hunter last month.
The note was unsigned, and reads, "I am so sorry for the hurt and pain that I caused on that day can u please tell the family I am sorry."
The Columbus Dispatch first reported the note stemmed from the fatal shooting of Larry Bradley, 45, an Iraq war veteran and father, who was in a tree stand in Gallia County, which is near the West Virginia border. Bradley was found dead on Dec. 2, the first day of deer-hunting season with a bullet that entered his back, below his rib cage and exited his body, the report said.
"I know accidents can happen, but when they’re this big, you take the responsibility for it. A letter just doesn't cut it."
- Joe Browning, the Gallia County sheriff
Specific details of the shooting are unclear. He was shot on rural land. But he did call his wife just before 8:30 a.m. and said, "You have to help me," the report said. He was gasping and she thought he was having a heart attack.
"God forgives, but not if you're hiding it," Denise Bradley, his wife, said, according to The Gallia Hometown Herald.
Joe Browning, the Gallia County sheriff, told The Columbus Dispatch that, "he didn't tell [his wife] the extent of his injuries. The impression we had was he was trying not to upset her."
Browning said the note may indicate that the shooter is haunted by the incident.
"I know accidents can happen, but when they’re this big, you take the responsibility for it. A letter just doesn't cut it," he said.