Veteran charged in hunting accident that killed 11-year-old Alabama boy
By CAROL ROBINSON | Alabama Media Group | Published: May 5, 2020
(Tribune News Service) — A veteran has been charged in connection to a deadly hunting accident that killed an 11-year-old boy.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday announced a manslaughter warrant against Joshua Stewart Burks, 35. He is charged in Friday’s death of Troy Ellis of Trussville. The boy’s father, Obed Ellis, is a football coach at Mortimer Jordan High School and was also injured in the shooting.
Father, son, Burks and another man began turkey hunting at daylight Friday on Ellis’ hunting land off Cedar Mountain Road in North Clay. The hunt was organized by a group that sponsors hunts for wounded veterans, and Ellis was acting as a guide.
Burks, an amputee, is U.S. Marine Corps veteran and a middle school teacher in Mobile County. He is expected to surrender to the Jefferson County Jail today on $15,000 bond.
The shooting happened about 9:30 a.m. Troy was brought down from the mountain and those with him sought help. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
"Mr. Burks in no manner intended for this horrible accident to occur and feels extreme sorrow and hurt for the Ellis family,’’ said his attorney, Jonathan C. McCardle. “While I feel criminal charges should not have been brought forth here, we look forward to working with the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office in bringing a resolution for all involved in this horrible accident."
Troy attended Cahaba Elementary School. "We were devastated to hear about the hunting accident and the loss of our precious 5th grade student. Any loss of life is tragic, especially during these times of isolation when we can’t grieve together,'' said Trussville City Schools Superintendent Pattie Neill. “The Ellis family and the Cahaba family are in our thoughts and prayers, and we are reaching out to help in any way we can.”
A GoFundMe to help the family has already raised more than $44,000. A vigil held Sunday night outside the family’s Trussville home drew hundreds.
A graveside service will be held on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 1 p.m. in Wetumpka.