ALBERTA

Jacob Russell Wright, Calgary Teen Mistaken For A Bear And Shot In Manitoba, Remembered By Friends

06/05/2013 03:56 EDT | Updated 06/05/2013 03:56 EDT
Obit

A teenager who was mistaken for a bear outside a tent and shot and killed in a remote area of northeastern Manitoba by a fellow camper, is being remembered as a 'big brother' and a lover of the outdoors.

Jacob Russell Wright, the 17-year-old victim, was a student at Bishop O'Byrne High School in Calgary and attended Winnipegosis Collegiate in Winnipegosis.

His friends took to Twitter to express their grief.

"Missing you Jacob," said Brittany Ditchfield.

Many referred to him as a "big brother" or "like a brother."

Wright's grandfather, Doug Webber, is trying to comfort the man who killed Wright in a moment of panic, The Calgary Sun reports.

"It was just tragic and the kid made a mistake — that’s all you can say, because there’s no use pointing fingers or asking why.

“All you can do is love the kid," he added.

RCMP Sgt. Line Karpish said four friends were camping at Namay Falls on Sunday, when one of them was woken up at 4 a.m. by a noise. He thought it was a bear and it was close to the tent.

Story continues after slideshow

Jacob Wright

The 22-year-old fired a shot, only to discover he had hit one of his camping buddies.

Someone called 911 and officers arrived by helicopter to find the group "very distraught," Karpish said.

"It is certainly a very sad reminder of the great responsibility that comes with handling firearms."

The four friends had been dropped into their campsite by helicopter and were just beginning a canoe trip down the Bloodvein River, Karpish said. The tragic shooting occurred during their first night in the wilderness.

Sadly, Karpish said it's not that unusual for people to be mistaken for wildlife and shot accidentally.

"These people were out in the middle of nowhere and there are bears out there and cougars. There may be other types of wildlife that may pose a threat,'' she said. "In this case, the young man believed it was a bear and fired the gun"

An autopsy is scheduled in Winnipeg. RCMP are continuing to investigate but Karpish said no charges have been laid.

A memorial is being organized in Calgary for this weekend.

A celebration of life will be held on June 6 at the Kleefeld Evangelical Mennonite Church in Kleefeld, Manitoba.

With files from The Canadian Press