Thursday, March 11, 2010

U. S. Forest Service Officer Killed in the Line of Duty

U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers are brothers and sisters of National Park Rangers dedicated to protecting our nation's national heritage and natural resources. The loss of any of the family strikes hard in all our hearts. We must all remember Christopher Upton, his wife and daughter during this time of indescribable grief.

The following is taken from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

A U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer was shot and killed in middle Georgia by a hunter who apparently mistook the ranger for a coyote.

Officer Christoper Arby Upton, 37, was on routine patrol in the Ocmulgee Bluff Equestrian Recreation Area in Jasper County on Friday when he was shot by Norman Clinton Hale, 40, of McDonough.

The incident happened about 11 p.m. in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest near Monticello, according to a statement from the USDA Forest Service.

Hale and another man were hunting coyote in the area. Hale and his hunting partner called 911 and reported the incident, but Upton died at the scene.

The Forest Service and the state Department of Natural Resources are investigating the incident. No charges have been filed.

Upton, a 4-year veteran of the Forest Service, previously worked as a game warden for the Department of Defense, U.S. Marine Corps, in Beaufort, S.C., and as a conservation officer, game warden and pilot for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

He is survived by his wife and a 4-year-old daughter.

Working in wild places holds many risks and dangers. We must always remember that.

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