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Hunter from Gresham killed by father near Meacham

A Gresham man died Wednesday evening near Meacham after his father shot him in what the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office is calling a hunting accident, according to a report by the East Oregonian newspaper in Pendleton.

Sheriff Terry Rowan said the case, though, remains open.

“You treat this like any other death investigation and try to answer all the questions,” he said,

Louis Neil Branze, 76, of Seaside, and his son David Joseph Branze, 47, of Gresham were in the area deer hunting, Rowan said, with at least two other people.

“They’ve been hunting up there for around 40 years,” he said.

One of the other hunting party members at 6:24 p.m. called 9-1-1 and reported an accidental shooting near the Summit Ranger Station cabin off Forest Service Road 3113. Rowan said none of the other members witnessed the shooting.

Deputies responded and discovered Louis Branze “fired a shot at a deer and apparently accidentally struck David Branze,” according to a written statement from the sheriff’s office. “David Branze died as a result of the gunshot wound.”

Members of Umatilla and Union County search and rescue teams found the body. The area is “very rugged and steep so the recovery took several hours to complete,” according to the written statement.

Rowan said the state medical examiner could perform an autopsy Saturday, but he is awaiting confirmation.