Family of deer hunter shot and killed on opening day reacts to charges filed

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BAY CITY (WJRT) (01/09/2019) - Eight weeks after the shooting death of a Midland County deer hunter on opening day, another hunter was arraigned in the Antrim County Courthouse.

David Barber of Gaylord, 45, faces three charges, including involuntary manslaughter and careless discharge of a firearm causing death.

The mother of victim Justin Beutel, who lives in Bay City, said while the charges will not bring her son back, she sees the decision to prosecute the case as a form of justice.

"We were relieved," said Theresa Schurman. "We feel like justice is going to be done for Justin."

Schurman said the pain following the death of her son has not diminished.

"It's endless tears, hoping that we wake up and it was a nightmare and it didn't happen," she said.

The 38-year-old victim texted a photo of himself, proudly displaying the buck he had shot to a good friend shortly after noon on Nov. 15. Around 1 p.m. emergency crews responded to a report of a hunting accident near the village of Alden, northeast of Traverse City.

Upon arrival, EMS responders found Beutel unresponsive. A DNR official said he had apparently been shot by a 45-year old Gaylord man hunting nearby.

The family believes Barber was trespassing on family-owned property.

"There's a difference between being careless and reckless and an accident," said Schurman. "You always have to make sure you know your target, what's beyond that target, what's in front of that target and what that target is."

Barber and his attorney, Daniel Hartman, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Beutel's family held a fundraiser Wednesday night at Schurman's home in Bay City for a memorial scholarship that has been set up in his name. Money raised will send students to the Motorcycle Mechanic's Institute in Phoenix, where Beutel earned his mechanic's license.

"That was his passion in life," said his younger sister Jenica Nordstrom. "It's the best way we can see to keep his memory alive and give money to that organization for young people who may not be able to afford to go."

She hopes it's a way to help out others while letting her brother's legacy live on.

Beutel, a master mechanic, built motors for Harleys and did dynomometer tuning. A memorial ride will be held to raise additional funds for the scholarship fund in May.

They have already raised $12,000 in funds for students. See Related Links on the right side of this story for more information.

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