NORTON (CBS) – The family of a woman shot by a state trooper over the weekend is angry and wants answers.

Sixty-six-year-old Cheryl Blair of Norton is still in Rhode Island Hospital, recovering from a gunshot wound to her hip.

The retired teacher was out walking her dogs Saturday around sunset when an off-duty state trooper hunting deer fired at her, thinking the tail of one of her dogs was the tail of a deer.

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields reports

The trooper, John Bergeron, apologized to Blair and called for help.

“She was shot (in the) left hip, it shattered her hip. She’s in a lot of pain, but she’s alive,” Blair’s son Nicholas told WBZ-TV.  “She’s a tough woman.”

pellet Husband Can Not Forgive Accidental Shooting Of Wife By State Trooper

Cheryl Blair was shot by a .50 caliber ball like this.

The State Police determined the shooting was accidental.

The trooper has a permit for the black powder rifle, and was out within the deer hunting season, which ended Saturday night.

At this point, he will not face any charges or disciplinary action.

But the victim’s husband Jim Blair, a hunter himself, told WBZ-TV Monday there should be consequences.

He called the shooting an irresponsible accident that could have long-term problems for his wife.

“I can forgive an accident,” says Jim Blair. “But he said he was shooting at a tail. That was the tail of my dog, not a deer. You have to have target recognition, and he failed to do that.  And I cannot forgive that.”

The family is baffled at how the trooper could have made such a mistake.

James says, “I want to make it clear, I understand the situation, I don’t accept the situation, I don’t forgive the situation.”

Several police agencies are still looking into what happened.

“My mother doesn’t look like a deer.  My mother was wearing a bright blue coat.  Could you mistake a dog for a deer? Sure, maybe, but not my mother,” Nicholas Blair said.

Bergeron was in the final minutes of the deer hunting season, and was hunting in an area he knows well. He lives just down the street from the Blair house.

But Jim Blair says Bergeron made a near-fatal mistake. “Now my wife has a musket ball fragment in her hip and will likely live the rest of her life in pain,” he says.

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields contributed to this report.

Comments (64)
  1. KSEAV says:

    Hmmm…that’s funny. I saw an interview with Mr. Blair last night, and he was gracious that his wife was recovering and that it was an accident. He was not furous, and neither was the son. A change of heart, or the media trying to play things up to cause drama AGAIN?!?!?!

    1. Ellen says:

      KSEAV, I heard the very same,thing today. The wife’s husband said that it’s a lesson to be learned and didn’t have any animosity towards the State Trooper.

    2. donny says:

      KSEAV, You’ve GOT to be joking, right?… You’re actually going to blame the media on this family’s reaction to such an irresponsible act!

      Regardless of the Blair family’s level of outrage, as a fellow citizen who frequently uses my local wooded trails, I am outraged! The fact that a hunter – who’s also a law-enforcement professional – would be so careless is simply unacceptable. He should be held accountable – and my fellow gun owners all agree. This is outrageous!… This poor woman will never be the same because this hunter didn’t follow the most basic rule of hunting.

      By the way, once fall arrives I only wear orange when I’m in the woods. You simply cannot be too careful.

      Best wishes for this woman’s speedy recovery…. and spare me the knee-jerk ‘blame the media’ garbage. Let’s be honest!

    3. Italo says:

      Yes, KSEAV, I happened also to see the husband interviewed on WHDH last evening’s news, and he says they come from a hunting family and that when his wife is home and better, he’d help explain to her how to be more cautious in the woods walking in the future. Strange turnaround.

    4. Fotini Chisham says:

      itscalled a Lawyer getting a hold of the family and $$$ in a matter of days we will hear of a lawsuite against the officer.

  2. firemanmark says:

    Staties taking care of staties.I can’t wait to hear Marian McGovern’s reaction to this one.If it was a statie or his wife who was shot the boys would be all over this. It was after dark (more than 30 minutes) which tells me that he either doesn’t know the rules or thinks they don’t apply to him.He should be assigned to a desk job for the remainder of his career.

  3. Linda says:

    Last I knew a Bright Blue jacket isn’t what should have been worn in you are walking in a hunting zone. It has always be Red or bright Orange. And it is easy to mistake a person for a deer when you aren’t wearing the proper clothing

    1. sam says:

      Please let me know if you are ever hunting in the eastern CT area so I know not to got hunting those days. You are a prime example of someone who should not be hunting. How can you try to justify this. If you cannot clearly identify what you are shooting at, that is a problem.

    2. Lindaisamoron says:

      Yeah he must have mistaken her for one of those deer that wears blue jackets right? Idiot. Animals don’t wear clothing of any color so even if he saw the blue of her jacket as opposed to orange he should NOT HAVE SHOT.

    3. fred wilson says:

      The fool shot at a TAIL!!! He should lose his hunting license forever! If he didn’t see any antlers, does this mean he had a permit to shoot a doe?? Was HE wearing the proper amount of “orange” clothing so HE could be identified. With all the hunting laws, he no doubtedly broke at lease ONE of them is he was stupid enough to shoot at a tail. The ultimate question is: In Massachusetts, how do you get some action on this near homicide…and THAT’S what I call this. If you kill someone in your vehicle, is it called just an “accident”?? Absolutely not!! Why is this incident just an “accident”. This is a whole lot o CYA BS!!!!! I hope someone gets off their dead ask and does something.

  4. Ron T says:

    My thought about him being gracious, in the beginning, was just about being in shock and at the same time, releived, that his wife will recover!

    This is not the first hunting accident, that’s been in the news, and probably won’t be the last!

    What struck me the most in the previous thread, was the state police authority, seemingly to come across as to trivialize just what happened to this innocent senior citizen, at the hands of one of their own!

    I also didn’t see any mention on how bad they felt, about what happened, but only to wish her a “speedy recovery” as if she was only getting over a cold, or something!

    So, I think the impact is now settling in for her family, as something like this certainly was preventable, and is understandable why they are now, furious!

  5. David Trottier says:

    The case will be dismissed, due to lack of evidence, eye witnesses and mostly because the cops lawyer will argue, the women wasnt being very smart. It is possible for a victim to sue a policeman in this ####### state?

  6. billbranch says:

    Irresponsible is not the proper adjective; negligent would be more appropriate..
    Anyone firing a gun should be sure of his target.
    Until states start prosecuting and incarcerating hunters who are so sorry after they kill or maim innocent citizens, this criminal behavior is going to continue.

  7. CommonSense says:

    I, personally, would not go walking in the woods without a bright yellow jacket. With that said, ultimately it is the responsibility of the hunter to IDENTIFY his/her target before taking a shot. Seriously, isn’t this rule number two behind leave the gun on safety till ready to fire?

  8. Peter says:

    The trooper needed to be sure that his target was a deer. He saw a tail and assumed. It is common in Massachusetts woods to only see a portion of a deer. Typically you can only see 50 yards or so in dense woods. Hard to make a judgement call on this. We can’t say for sure exactly what the hunter saw.

    However, we CAN be sure that the woman should have known better and worn hunters orange for a walk in the woods during hunting season in legal hunting grounds. This is an OBVIOUS thing that any reasonable person would do. She clearly knows that there is hunting taking place in those woods. Wearing hunters orange is a no-brainer.

    1. Sarah mn says:

      Why is it the responsibility of every citizen to know hunting rules? That is the responsibility of the person with the freaking GUN.

  9. IC says:

    Trooper Bergeron should have his FID card revoked until he can pass a comprehensive eyesight exam. Obviously he can’t tell the difference from a deer to a human.

  10. Matt says:

    The fact that people are allowed to hunt within such close proximity to a neigborhood is beyond me. Goes to show just how messed up humans are. If you want to hunt. You should be at least two miles from anything!!!

    1. Sam says:

      I believe the trooper was totally at fault and should have his hunting license taken away. You need to be 110% sure you know what you are shooting at. With that being said I think your comment is stupid. You do not need to be two miles away from everything to hunt and be a safe hunter, and good luck finding a lot of private properties that you can hunt on that have even close to that much land.

  11. rick t. says:

    Linda, ‘it is easy to mistake a person for a deer’….I have never seen a deer walking upright on two legs. At least three hunters and a hiker have been mistaken for deer this season. I took a hunter safety course 38 yrs. ago and the first two things I learned were (1) treat every gun as if it were loaded and (2) KNOW your target. Pretty basic rules to live by.

  12. dc says:

    If it were the other way around..and this woman shot a state trooper..I guarantee she’s be depicted as irresponsible…Hopefully he won’t mistake an innocent bystander for a criminal while carrying a gun!!

    1. miley says:

      yea and what is your point? the trooper IS being depicted as irresponsible!

  13. Sherri says:

    Have to agree with KSeav. On the news report last evening her family seemed quite was an accident. That is what all members stated on television. I thought they were being very good about the whole thing considering it was their mom/wife and how quick anger is triggered these days. Would there be any reason this hunter would have to shoot this woman other than saying it was a freak accident. Mrs. Blair is alive and is that not what is the most important thing?

  14. Joan says:

    No one should walk in the woods during hunting season especially at dusk without orange on person and dog. I am so bothered by this family’s outrage today. They should be very lthankful she and her dogs are alive. They sell clothing for dogs, horses and people.

  15. Italo says:

    The husband seemed to sound like a very understanding fellow hunter when interviewed on another news station last evening. I wonder what changed his point of view overnight?

    1. Pete Michaud says:


  16. Ellen says:

    I agree with Linda…its a given …. anyone knows that if you live near a place that allows hunting you need to wear a vest that is bright orange or red that has reflective tape on it…. It seems like the Blair’s have been living in the house for a while and should know that….If they claim they didn’t know than I’m sorry that is stupidity on their part…I don’t hunt or live near a place that you can hunt and I know that you need to wear protective gear if your going for a walk ect.
    The officer is not to blame. It was an accident.

  17. Willow says:

    I’m sorry for what happened to this dear lady, and I’m happy she was not killed, but accidents happen all the time during hunting season. All the more reason why no one should be walking their dogs, or by themselves for that matter, in the woods during that time. I used to live near a wooded area that was used for hunting, and during that time my dog and I stayed on our own property. Thank God this didn’t turn out to be an even worse tragedy.

  18. One guy says:

    I say shoot the moron hunter in the hip with his own gun.

  19. Mark says:

    I always thought that discharging a firearm within “x” feet or yards of an occupied dwelling was not permitted. How far away from the house (or other houses for that matter) was the woman when this happened?

  20. Scott Downie says:

    Safety first, the hunter did not have target recognition, that is obvious. The hunter is at fault for this accident. Since the hunter is armed at his job, he should be immediately retrained in firearms safety. If this is not possible, he should not be allowed to carry his weapon until he is retrained. Because he is a police officer he is held to higher standards than civilians by legal authorities and the courts. I have been a public safety officer for 25 years, if I made this mistake I would expect my employer to take action that would keep the public safe. I am sorry for the woman’s injuries and hope the trooper gets the training he needs to never repeat this tragedy. WD Plymouth

    1. Pete Michaud says:

      The problem with this is if it were a civilian WE would lose our license to carry permanently, lose our guns, and lose all rights to getting another hunting license EVER!!! NOT FAIR, IS IT!!!!!

  21. Ron T says:

    I still think that the family being gracious in the beginning, was all about being in shock, and grateful at the same time that Mrs Blair would survive, and the impact reality settled in later, on how this should never have happened!

    Some reports say she was only 150 feet away from her home, and the hunter’s targets are supposed to be at least 500 feet away from homes!

    If that report is true, then that could be a big issue, as well!

  22. Paul says:

    I swear this is true. Last Saturday morning I said to my wife that this is the most dangerous day to be in the woods because it was the last day of deer season. Many hunters wait all year for the chance to hunt them and can become very frustrated if they don’t get the chance to bag one. I’ve witnessed guys shooting at anything that even resembles a deer on the last day. Not sure of the exact time of the accident but it sounds like it was very close to, if not after, the half hour after sunset limit when visability couldn’t have been good. Hunter(Trooper or not) should be held responsible for, if for nothing else, not having target recognition.

  23. billbranch says:

    Thank you, Scott.

  24. JaniN says:

    There are several issues here:
    1) As stated in a previous report, it was beyond 1/2 hour after sunset, therefore the hunter should not have discharge his weapon.
    2) The hunter did not ‘identify’ his target before shooting.
    3) The woman should have been wearing orange if she was walking in the woods, especially during hunting season.
    4) I believe that dogs are not allowed in a hunting area during deer season. I realize they probably were on leases, but they should not have been there in the first place.

    When it comes down to it, I do believe that the hunter bears the responsibility for this accident. In the failing light, he would not have been able to verify his target and should not have discharged his gun. Now, with a shattered hip, this woman is going to be on a long and difficult road to recovery. I’m sure some legal action will come out of this if nothing else.

  25. JG says:

    She was on her own property, she can walk her dogs wherever she wants and wear whatever she wants! This is 100% this yahoo’s fault. He should be immediately terminated pending his manslaughter conviction. No excuses for this negligence!
    I can’t believe the double standards in this state, its seems like a douche with a badge gets total immunity…

    1. Pete Michaud says:

      I’m not sure what story you heard, but you can’t have a manslaughter conviction unless there is someone killed. Readthe law I think you’ll find this to be true!!!!!

  26. Mitchell Bupp says:

    This guy should not be a cop! If any hunter shoots at something he can not positively identify he is at fault and should not be allowed to hunt or carry any weapon…peroid .. this guy is just like some of the assholes used to hunt with years ago. STUPID

    This is just plain irresponsible and the government will end up paying all of the medical costs instead of the dumb cop!

  27. buddy says:

    Why should she have to wear specific colors on her own 4 acre property? The State Trooper is obviously not to bright. Fire him, take his guns away, and have him get his eyes checked out.

    No, better yet, gime him an accomadation, make him a hero for calling 911, give him a promotion.

  28. emmomm says:

    I have to wonder, If anyone would immediately thought of any wrong doing , Most first reaction would have been getting help for the person, , being by that persons side and seeing if they were going to be OK. After that shock will set in and then questions will come up,,
    1. how did this happen,
    2. why
    3, How close was the hunter, did he have a clear target,
    4. was the hunter to close to population areas.
    5. Why was he hunting after the time allowed.
    What is very interesting is that its been said no charges will be given to the hunter, WHY, after all that’s now known the hunter clearly was in the wrong. I live near woods, But there are no signs posted hunting in progress, I drive thru thick wooded areas, Again , there are no signs stating hunting in progress. I have driven thru many areas with no signs of any kind. Yet I have never seen or heard gun shot near any of these areas. Hunting areas are clearly marked with brightly colored signs. Plus hunting is not allowed within a certain perimeter of populations, roads dwellings and businesses. Hunters are to be sure they stay far away from were people may go. From what I have read 150 feet is not regulation.. that is my back yard. Why should the lady and her dogs for that matter who were out after dusk need any brightly colored attire to ward of any irresponsible person with a gun. The hunter was clearly out of line and should face charges,
    As for the husband of the lady He has every right to change his statement, since his first and initial reaction was the well being of his wife FIRST, He was is such shock and was worried about her I am sure after all that happened and that he knew she would recover, that’s when he realized just how lucky she was and that the person that was responsible for this needs to face the conscience of his actions and thus his change of heart. The hunter was in the wrong and needs to face the charges …

  29. sloopjohnB2 says:

    He accepted the cops apology at first. I see a BIG lawsuit coming. Attorney James Sokolove where are you?

  30. sloopjohnB2 says:

    The husband accepted the cop’s apology at first. I see a VERY large lawsuit coming!!

  31. erik macfarlane says:


  32. NRA Member says:

    The guys is a bozo. Remember this cop could have been in a dark alley and it could have been a kid. Needs a few NRA clases and an eye exam, quickly…

    I see another one of our finest was charged with runninga gambling ring. The staties use to be a class act….

    1. Yalile says:

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  33. Dover David says:

    I thought the same, that the initial reaction from the family was rather mild. Then I thought that perhaps, with time, they have been told that there might be more damage than initially thought. That the wife is not starting to feel the pain and discomfort of the actual shooting or is learning of some damage to the bone, muscles or nerves in the area……

  34. njuguna muigai says:

    It is high time the hunting adventure be suspended and licences and guns be returned to department that issue this item. I heard of another incident where a man shot his friend also for mistaking him, after he knew his mistake he shot himself, you can imagine how it was treble for both family. Also another incident is when who was vice president Dick Chinney accidentally shot his friend during the hunting expedition by luckily he survived, there are so many incidents I can give. That are my suggestions

    1. Nella says:

      This rievew is from: I had a hard time with this book . . .I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN! It is an excellent book, and I recommend it to all deerhunters, especially Christian deerhunters! It’s an easy, interesting read and I am going to buy copies of this book for my huntin’ buddies, which include my teenage sons. Steve Chapman draws the reader into a vivid situation, allowing the reader to feel as if he is in the woods sitting in the tree stand. Also, the author shares his personal views about many areas of life. This book makes you think about many different things! Buy it you’ll like it!

  35. fred says:

    He saw the dogs tail but shot the woman, not a very good shot. The dog must have been a great dane because most dogs tails would barley be a foot from the ground – not the height of a deer’s tail. This will all be settled in civil court.

  36. Alan Carr says:

    I’ve hunted in several states andover 30 plus years have harvested nearly 100 deer. I have never seen a deer wearing a blue coat. If the story is accurate in the facts and the shooter mistook the dogs for a deer; why did he shoot the dogs owner? I’ll be following this story to see how the “blue (coat)? line” puts a spin on it.

  37. TSA says:

    This poor women is going to have permanent pain because of this man’s careless behavior. This man needs to be held accountable. Where is personal responsibility for your actions. In the hunting class they drill over and over into your head “know your target and what is behind it” It is time to start prosecuting people who demonstrated they violated that rule.

  38. Thin Blue line says:

    This is a whitewash pure and simple, just like the Statie in Saugus driving and unmarked cruiser with emtpy beercans inside, caught, but never given a FST.

  39. JCINDA HOUSE says:

    Anther cop who will never be held responsible….

  40. Wendy says:

    I can’t believe the MORONS that actually want to blame the VICTIM!!… I do not hunt nor do I care when it is hunting season..but if I want to walk my dog in the woods I deserve to be shot if I’m not wearing orange?!! Definitely shouldnt be shooting near homes…More blame the victim mentality…& no personal responsibility…Shameful.. And a COP at that! If anyone should be competent with a gun it is an officer of the LAW! Pull his hunting license and retire him!

  41. Pete says:

    “1do not hunt nor do I care when it is hunting season”!!!!! This is your commenr? Unfortunetaly this is the attitude that would probably put you in the same boat as this lady! Hunting is a right that Massachusetts lets us have and has been around for hundreds of years. I’m not saying that the hunter was right because he definetly was wrong as to the shooting of just a TAIL. My concern is with your comment which tells me that if this is alot of peoples attitude about hunting this problem could happen again!!! There are laws that we as hunters have to go by and if you live near the woods where hunters go people should be aware of them also.You say you don’t care when hunting season and also don’t know when it is, but if you see vehicles on the side of the road with guys getting out them with bright orange on, It’s a sure bet that it might be hunting season. This being said your statement might be coming from the biggest MORON, YOU!!!!!

    1. Alan Carr says:

      Deer hunting season ended just after sunset,…… about 10 minutes before Mrs. Blair was shot. So the hunter was hunting illegally after hours.

      Only deer hunters are legally required to wear blaze orange.

      So 10 minutes after the close of deer hunting season someone shoots at what they think is a deer (but is actually a person in the dark wearing a blue coat walking two dogs) and it’s the victims fault for not wearing orange to keep any irresponsible hunter who is blindly shooting at tails after the close of hunting hours?
      I saw a bunch of guys last week exiting vehicles on the side of the road wearing bright orange….not hunters….it was a road constuction crew. So Pete, your sure bet is not such a sure bet is it?

      1. Pete says:

        I didn’t say the hunter was responsable,he should have his license to carry and hunting license pulled for life. Also my comment said “It’s a sure bet it “MIGHT” be hunting season. Also if the husband was a hunting instructor, as stated by him, and they live near the woods they both should have taken precautions before she left the house. Do you know what time she left the house, did she leave before sunset and how long was she out in the woods. I’m not saying the hunter is right, because he WAS wrong, But safety should have been priority with ALL concerned. Safety is the same reason why highway workers also wear blaze orange or yellow.

    2. Muschtaryd says:

      So htnuing games aren’t making any money. Why even put them out then? This is just a remake of the rest of the series. The same game engine, the same animals, the same maps. Oh . wait .. you get one more animal and one more map. Red Deer & Belgium? Well, the deer looks terrible, like an elk painted red/brown and the map isn’t much. There’s a few more challenges , but none of it is worth the price. If you have never bought Any of the series, then this is the best to buy. It has the most challenges and animals. If however, you have the rest of the series, it’s worth waiting till the price drops to a couple bucks. You won’t miss anything at all. HU3 was the best of the series. After it, everything changed hands and the quality got worse progressively. 2010 is smoother than 2008-2009 and it’s still probably the best PC htnuing series out there. It seems that PC gamers are being put on the shelf, replaced with Console gamers. That’s where the money is lately.

  42. Alan Carr says:

    Here are two quotes from the Boston Globe;

    “Nicholas Blair said his parents own about 5 acres of land in the area and that the shooting occurred on their property, about 250 meters from the back of their house. ”

    “Blair was walking her family’s dogs about a quarter-mile into the woods behind her Oak Street home when Bergeron shot her about 5 p.m. Saturday, police said. He said he mistook the tail of one of her golden retrievers for that of a deer”

    Explain to everyone how the shooter (who could not distinguish between a dogs tail and a deers tail), would have been able to see in the dark if Mrs. Blair was wearing blaze orange instead of a bright blue coat when he shot at a “deers tail”. Remember hunting season was over at 4:53 pm on saturday…

    “..Also if the husband was a hunting instructor, as stated by him, and they live near the woods they both should have taken precautions before she left the house… What precautions should they both have taken before she (Mrs. Blair) left the house?

    If true that the husband is a hunting instuctor, why would that obligate him to take precautions before Mrs.Blair left the house to walk her dogs? Does she need full body armor to keep her safe from careless hunters while on her property?

    Please explain to everyone why a person participating in a non-hunting activity should have to modify their lifestyle, clothing choices or schedule to ensure their safety from anyone who may feel they have the right to shoot anything that they mistake for a deer.

    What difference does it make what time Mrs Blair left the house to walk her dogs? Or how long she was out in the woods?

    Mass offers hunting safety classes to instruct hunters how to be safe while hunting. Do you think dog walking classes should be mandatory as well to keep people safe from careless hunters from shooting at “tails” in the dark?

    Thanks for answering.

  43. Kinjo says:

    KBeau4196 June 22, 2011 I am American and i am not fat, iorngant or belligerent. I may not know everything about every other country, but if you think about it, who does? I am not biased and i do not base my thoughts on other countries based on stereotypes.You may think American’ accents are stupid, but to me they aren’t because i live here. That is just rude i don’t think any other accent is stupid.We might have a stereotype about talking with strange accents and texting jargon in speech such as lol’, but we certainly do not talk weird relative to our country.You are iorngant- and that is not based on your nationality.

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