Teenager Shot Dead By Boyfriend After Being Mistaken For A Panther In Prank Gone Wrong
A teenager has been shot dead by her partner and his friend after a prank went tragically wrong.
On 20 October, 19-year-old Rachel Buchanan was socialising with her boyfriend and another couple at a house located outside of Hendersonville, roughly 105 miles west from Charlotte.
However, an 'ill-fated' prank Buchanan and the other girl tried to play on their partners saw the 19-year-old lose her life.
District Attorney for Henderson, Transylvania and Polk counties, Andrew Murray, has called the incident 'a tragic and heart-wrenching accident'.
The two men left their partners in search of a phone charger, according to Murray. However, due to local stories about a black panther lurking in the nearby woods, the men decided to take their legally-owned firearms with them on foot.
Murray's email to North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI) detailed how a panther had previously been spotted by one of the men and his father.
Murray stated: "This panther legend was a prominent theme in every interview that was completed of those familiar with the Conservative Lane area. [...] There is no doubt that several alleged black panther sightings had the Conservative Lane residents on edge for their safety and wellbeing."
When their partners left to go and find a charger, Buchanan and her friend came up with a prank.
They got rotten eggs and hid in the bushes, planning to throw them at the men.
Upon their partners' return, Buchanan's friend let out a fart, which caused the pair to giggle, according to the release.
However, the two men heard sticks breaking and what they believed to be growling. "Both also saw a dark figure and perceived the figure to be a threat," the email stated. The pair opened fire.
One of the men was armed with a nine millimetre pistol and the other with a 12-gauge shotgun.
Buchanan was hit in the chest and head a total of three times.
Her friend screamed for the men to stop firing and for help.
911 was called and paramedics took over from the two men who attempted to perform first aid.
However, the 19-year-old died on her way to hospital, the NCSBI told News 13.
Neither drugs nor alcohol were found in the men's blood tests.
Murray subsequently ruled no laws had been violated and that he was 'convinced that the shooting and killing of Rachel Olivia Buchanan was a tragic and heart wrenching accident'.
The case has since been closed, and no charges are being filed.
Murray concluded: "Regrettably, everyone involved in the loss of Ms. Buchanan’s life must forever live with their personal decision-making and actions on this ill-fated night.
"The vibrant life of a loved one and friend was senselessly cut far too short."
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677
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