Hunter Kills Marine; Mistook Him for a Bear

No charges so far against 67-year-old man

By Greg Wilson
|  Friday, Nov 1, 2013  |  Updated 12:55 PM EDT
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A man hunting with his grandson killed a U.S. Marine after mistaking him for a bear.

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A man hunting with his grandson accidentally killed a U.S. Marine due to return to duty this week, after mistaking him for a bear in the Oregon wilderness, authorities said.

Christopher Ochoa, 20, of French Camp, Calif., died at the scene in western Oregon Friday night. He had been hiking with a friend through a field and was wearing dark clothes, according to The Associated Press. The pair were headed to Silver Creek Falls Park.

Gene Collier, who was hunting bear with his 12-year-old grandson saw movement in the brush and fired one shot from a .270-caliber rifle, striking Ochoa, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said. His pal was able to summon authorities and direct them to the scene. Although deputies administered first aid to Ochoa, who was alive when they arrived, he died at the scene.

Collier, 67, hasn't been charged and authorities said the shooting appeared to be accidental. Still, the case was handed over to the local district attorney's office.

A press release from the sheriff's office said Collier cooperated fully with authorities, 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, Oregon, to do work on a house. Ochoa was set to report back for duty on Oct. 25.

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