Fatal shooting of Denton Guyer football player appears to be accidental, sheriff says

Posted Tuesday, Sep. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information Service 11 a.m. Thursday at Cross Timbers Church, 1119 U.S. 377 in Argyle. Donations to help the family defray expenses may be made to the Nathan Maki Benefit Fund at any Northstar Bank of Texas.

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The shooting death Saturday of a Denton Guyer High School football player appears to have been an accident, but the investigation remains open, Montague County Sheriff Paul Cunningham said Tuesday.

Deputies responding to a shooting call about 11:10 p.m. Saturday at a field off Miller Road near Bowie found Nathan Maki, 18, wounded. He was taken to Bowie Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Cunningham on Tuesday said the fatal shot came from a rifle held by Maki’s friend, 17-year-old Michael Bryce Underwood. There was “no evidence of this being an intentional shooting,” Cunningham said at a news conference.

“At this point, we believe the gun accidentally discharged, and that’s all I’m going to say,” the sheriff said. “It is an extreme tragedy to all those involved.”

Alcohol was found at the scene, and Underwood was arrested on suspicion of consumption of alcohol by a minor, but he has been released from jail, the sheriff said.

It was unclear Tuesday if additional charges would be filed, or what they might be.

Cunningham said investigators planned to interview more people.

The teens were camping out at the field in advance of the opening of dove hunting season Sunday, Cunningham said. A shotgun also was found, the sheriff said.

Two 18-year-old girls were with Maki and Underwood but panicked and fled when the rifle went off, the sheriff said. The girls were interviewed and likely will be interviewed again.

“Of course, you have to understand the juvenile mind — their best friend had just died,” he said. “There was alcohol involved, they were scared, and they just fled from the scene. That’s not uncommon for kids.”

Maki’s classmates returned to the Denton high school Tuesday wearing blue to honor him. Grief counselors were available, school officials said.

Maki was a running back on Guyer’s football team, which is scheduled to play Colleyville Heritage at 7 p.m. Thursday at C.H. Collins Stadium, 1500 Long Road, in Denton.

Bill Miller, 817-390-7684 Twitter: @Bill_MillerST

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