Husband Can Not Forgive Accidental Shooting Of Wife By State Trooper

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.

More from Bill Shields

    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?!?!?!

    • Fotini Chisham

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

    • KSEAV


    • Ellen

      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.

    • donny

      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!

    • Italo

      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.

  • firemanmark

    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.

  • Linda

    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

    • sam

      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.

    • fred wilson

      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.

    • P

      What a joke!

    • Lindaisamoron

      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.

  • Ron T

    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!

  • David Trottier

    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?

  • billbranch

    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.

  • CommonSense

    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?

  • Peter

    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.

    • Sarah mn

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

  • IC

    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.

  • Matt

    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!!!

    • Sam

      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.

  • rick t.

    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.

  • dc

    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!!

    • miley

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

  • Sherri

    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?

  • Joan

    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.

  • Italo

    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?

    • Pete Michaud


  • Ellen

    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.

  • Willow

    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.

  • One guy

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

  • Mark

    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?

  • Scott Downie

    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

    • Pete Michaud

      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!!!!!

  • Ron T

    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!

  • Paul

    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.

  • billbranch

    Thank you, Scott.

  • JaniN

    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.

  • JG

    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…

    • Pete Michaud

      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!!!!!

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