Balloons released in memory of Middlesboro teen killed in hunting accident

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

He was shot to death in a freak accident. 15-year old Devin Smith of Middlesboro died Saturday while hunting with his grandfather. Another hunter mistakenly shot the teen, thinking he was an animal.

The sophomore's death has not been easy for his classmates at Middlesboro High School to handle. Wednesday they released balloons in his memory.

Classmates said they wanted to do it - because Wednesday would have been Devin's 16th birthday.

It started slowly - students with balloons and messages for a friend.

"In times like these, it's easy to ask why. I also knew what Devin stood for, and I know where he is. It makes it a whole lot easier to bear," said Amanda Roberts, a life-long friend.

It was a birthday celebration made into a celebration of life.

"We all have to stick together. That's what gets me through everyday," said Jane Hurst, Devin's mother.

There were moments to reflect, moments to think, and moments to wipe the tears away. But soon enough, it was time to let the balloons go.

"Devin - his famous words - he'd just say I love you. That's all. He'd say that to everybody," said Roberts.

Friends of Devin Smith said this week has been hard. They are making it through and helping his family.

"I appreciate everybody's love and support," said Devin's mother.

Authorities in Claiborne County continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting. Detectives have processed the scene and put together preliminary reports.

It's not known if 66-year old David Roland will face any charges for the shooting. None of the hunters were wearing any orange.

"He touched more lives than he ever knew," said Devin's mother.

Meanwhile, so many are left to mourn a teen who will not be forgotten.

"I'm going to miss him. It's terrible," said Captain Mike Spradlin, Middlesboro JROTC Instructor.

Claiborne County Sheriff David Ray said detectives have determined the shooter was about 45 yards from Smith. That's less than half the distance of a football field.

Funeral services for Devin Smith will be held Thursday.


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