OK: Fairview superintendent claims he was hunting in area where woman was shot

Fairview superintendent was hunting in area woman was shot (koco.com)

03/12/2024

After a bullet hit a woman sitting in her home, an investigation is underway to see if the Fairview Public Schools superintendent was responsible.

Superintendent Craig Church came forward after learning a woman had been shot, admitting he was hunting coyotes near her home. Major County Sheriff Anthony Robinson said the superintendent was worried it could have been one of his bullets.

“This is a very rare – probably a one in a billion shot – with the distance and location, everything like that,” Robinson said.

The bullet is currently lodged inside the woman’s chest. The sheriff said the bullet is key evidence in figuring out who the shooter was.

“We did discover that a woman had been shot. The bullet penetrated her left arm, through her left breast and then into her right breast,” Robinson said.

“What’s unusual about this, and it’s unusual in general, is that one of those rounds would make it not only into a house but into a person,” Robinson said. “It can be anything from negligent discharge to assault with a deadly weapon. It just kind of depends on the scenario.”

The sheriff said Church was the only person to come forward, but they are looking into one other possible lead. He also said Church is friends with the woman, and it is not clear if the superintendent was responsible.

“We located shell casings from the rifle that he used. He was completely cooperative and forthcoming. Told us where he was, what he was shooting at, how he was shooting, let us have the rifle and everything like that,” Robinson said.

Investigators said they are waiting to see if the bullet matches after the victim undergoes surgery. She was taken to OU Health, where they wanted to wait to take it out because it was risky.

Some people in the small town said the investigation is taking too long.

“It feels like it’s being brushed under the rug and possibly because of who it is. They have a name in this town. They’re a very important person in this town, and I just feel like nothings being done because of who this person is,” said a resident who spoke to KOCO 5 and wished to remain anonymous. “If that was me that was out shooting out of my car, and I hit someone with a stray bullet, I can guarantee you I’d be in jail, and I’d be facing charges that are not just illegal hunting.”

The sheriff said they can’t charge someone without all the evidence, including that bullet. Those charges could be filed against whoever fired the gun.

“The Fairview Board of Education is aware of the report regarding an unlawful hunting incident involving Superintendent Craig Church on February 18, 2024, for which Mr. Church received four Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation citations in the District Court of Major County,” said the Fairview Public School Board President Travis Pembrook in a statement. “While the incident does not appear to involve the District, it is a serious matter and the circumstances are very unfortunate.”

The statement said the board will continue to monitor the case to determine if any action is necessary on behalf of the district.

“Mr. Church is a longtime member of the community and has been a valuable and responsible leader for Fairview Public Schools. The Board is confident that he will continue to fully cooperate with the ongoing law enforcement investigation and take swift and appropriate steps to resolve this matter,” Pembrook said in a statement.

 

 

 

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