A Hutterite teen is dead after being struck by a bullet while he and other youths were target shooting Sunday afternoon.
Brendan Hofer, 16, was shot when he walked in front of a member of his group who was taking target practice with a .22-calibre rifle, said Joshua Hofer Jr., minister of the Lakeside Hutterite Colony.
"When one did the shooting, focusing on the scope, the other walked in front of the gun unknowingly and the timing was right there for pulling the trigger," he said. "It was just an accident."
The dead teen may have been checking the target or straightening one of the tin-can targets when he was shot, but the minister couldn't say for sure.
A critical-care nurse and advanced-care paramedic were aboard a STARS air ambulance that arrived shortly after the incident but could not do anything to save the boy.
"Our crew did provide care on scene. Unfortunately, it was not medically required to transport the patient," STARS spokesman Cam Heke said.
Heke says STARS arrived at the scene before RCMP and at the same time as paramedics on the ground.
There were four male youths in the group shooting at the targets.
The colony, located 16 kilometres west of Headingley, was established in 1947 and has about 120 residents.
"Everybody is kind of shocked but you have to have faith to accept. It's God's calling," the minister said. "Whenever it is when someone dies, if it's a drowning or shooting or heart attack, we need to believe in God that it's His calling."
However, he acknowledged "the young people should have maybe had better training" with firearms.
The body has been taken for an autopsy. A wake and funeral will be held when it's returned, likely in a few days, he said.