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La Pine-area bow hunter charged with manslaughter in killing


A Deschutes County grand jury returned an Indictment Thursday adding a second-degree manslaughter charge against a Tillamook man already jailed for criminally negligent homicide in the bow-and-arrow death of his bow hunting companion.

The Indictment alleges that early Monday, Michael Shawn Pekarek, 52,, caused the death of Jeffrey Lynn Cummings, 45, of Wood Village, the district attorney’s office said.

The incident occurred along Forest Road 9736 near Paulina Lake Road in southern Deschutes County.

That morning, Pekarek called 911 dispatchers to report that he had shot his hunting partner with an arrow while they were bow hunting. Shortly after first responders arrived on the scene, they determined Cummings had died.

“Hunting is an important part of central Oregon’s culture and history, and our region’s forest lands offer some of the top spots in the country engage in this sport,” District Attorney John Hummel said.

“Our thoughts are with Jeff Cummings’ family as they grieve his loss, and with Michael Pekarek and his family as they mourn Jeff’s passing and struggle with the fact that Michael’s actions led to his death,” Hummel said.

Pekarek and Cummings were close friends who often hunted together, the DA related.

“Pekarek did not intend to cause Cummings’ death,” the news release said. “Rather, the grand jury returned an Indictment with alternative theories: that Pekarek’s actions were reckless and/or criminally negligent, and that his actions caused Cummings’ death.”

Pekarek is being held on $500,000 bail and is due back in court next Tuesday at $1:30 p.m.

Deschutes County 911 got the call at 7:40 a.m. Monday from Pekarek, said sheriff’s office Sgt. Deke DeMars, a detective with the agency.

A dispatcher gave Pekarek instructions on how to perform CPR, which he did until sheriff’s deputies and La Pine Rural Fire District medics arrived. They pronounced Cummings dead shortly after arrival, DeMars said.

Sheriff’s detectives and Oregon State Police Game Division troopers responded to investigate the incident which occurred about seven miles east of Highway 97.

They learned the two men were bow hunting along the road in a vehicle, with Cummings driving and Pekarek as a passenger, when they spotted a mule deer on the west side of the road, DeMars said.

Pekarek told deputies he got out with his bow to attempt a shot at the deer, while Cummings also got out with his bow and stayed on the road. Pekarek said he spotted the deer briefly and was ready to fire his arrow, but it moved out of view.

“Pekarek turned with his bow pointed toward Cummings to tell him the deer was moving toward him, when he released the arrow,” DeMars said in a news release.

The arrow hit Cummings in the abdomen and he fell to the ground. Pekarek said he tried to render aid to Cummings, then dialed 911.

NewsChannel 21’s Dani Fried spoke Wednesday with members of OSP, ODFW, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s office and bow hunting experts, to find out more about this case.

“Never seen it. I have seen people get cut with broad heads, I’ve heard of people tripping and falling and cutting themselves. But I have never seen or heard of people getting shot with an arrow and killed,” said Tom Powell, an Oregon Bow Hunter Education instructor.

Sheriff Shane Nelson said the tragic incident points to the need for safety in actions.

“Whenever you have a dangerous or deadly weapon, you want to make sure that you handle it very carefully, you’re focused on your surrounding, you’re aware of your environment,” Nelson said.

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