Sheriff: Hiker mistakenly shot by Ore. bear hunter
SUBLIMITY, Ore. – A California member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves was shot and killed in Oregon after authorities say a hunter mistook him for a bear.
Christopher Ochoa, a 20-year-old from French Camp, Calif., and a friend were hiking through a field in Western Oregon on the way to Silver Creek Falls Park on Friday evening.
Ochoa was wearing dark-colored clothing when an Oregon man hunting for bear with his 12-year-old grandson saw something moving in the brush and fired one shot from a .270-caliber rifle, striking Ochoa, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said.
The sheriff's office said the hunter, Gene Collier, 67, hasn't been charged and said the shooting appeared to be accidental but turned the case over to the local district attorney's office.
Collier cooperated with detectives, according to a press release from the sheriff's office, and there was no indication that he was impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Ochoa's family in California told police he and Raymond Westrom, 53, of Lathrop, Calif., were in Salem, Ore., to do work on a house. Ochoa was set to report back for duty on Oct. 25.
Westrom directed Marion County sheriff's deputies through the woods to Ochoa, who was still alive when deputies arrived. The deputies administered first aid, but Ochoa died at the scene.
Bear season in Western Oregon runs from Aug. 1 until Dec. 31. Hunters are permitted to take one black bear per season, with restrictions on cubs less than one year old or sows with cubs.