Man charged after mistaking pastor for coyote, fatally shooting - | WBTV Charlotte

Man charged after mistaking pastor for coyote, fatally shooting him

Michael Marsh (Photo courtesy family) Michael Marsh (Photo courtesy family)
Matthew Dunn (Alexander County Sheriff's Office) Matthew Dunn (Alexander County Sheriff's Office)

A man who officials say fatally shot a pastor he mistook for a coyote Monday evening has been charged in the man's death.

Wednesday, officials said 31-year-old Matthew Dunn was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 26-year-old Michael Marsh. 

Investigators say the incident happened just after 6 p.m. Monday in a wooded area along Ed Burgess Road, which is off of Highway 16 north of Taylorsville.

Previous: Church pastor mistaken for coyote fatally shot in Alexander County

Marsh was reportedly hunting coyotes and using a coyote call when he was shot. Investigators say Dunn was nearby and heard the call. They say he then got a rifle and fired two shots at the "brown and gray movement" he saw near a tree.

The sheriff says after Marsh was shot he stood up “and yelled, 'stop shooting, you hit me.'”

Officials said Dunn immediately called 911 and rushed to the wounded man to try to help. As he stayed on the phone and tried to help Marsh he could be heard imploring him to "hold on and keep breathing."

Medic arrived in minutes and Marsh was rushed to Wake Forest Baptist Health Wilkes Medical Center where he was pronounced dead around 8 p.m. Monday.

Deputies said on Tuesday that Marsh did have a hunting license, but they did not believe Dunn did. To shoot at coyotes in North Carolina, a hunting license is required.

Investigators also said Tuesday that they did believe what happened was an accident, but said it did not mean charges wouldn't be filed. The District Attorney made that final decision.

Dunn was placed under a $75,000 bond. He is due in court on Monday.

Marsh was the pastor at Russell Gap Baptist Church north of Taylorsville. He leaves behind a wife and two small children.

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