Boy killed in hunting accident was Berlin Middle School student

Easton Thom's family is well-known in the community, including a teacher and restaurant owner
Published: Nov. 20, 2022 at 6:20 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 21, 2022 at 5:14 PM CST
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GREEN LAKE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - An 11-year-old boy who was shot and killed while hunting has been identified as a Berlin Middle School student.

The Berlin Area School District released a statement Monday following the death of Easton Thom.

“The Berlin Area School District is heartbroken by yesterday’s death of Berlin Middle School sixth grader Easton Thom in a hunting accident.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Thom family and friends, school staff, and the entire Berlin community.

The Berlin Area School District pupil services staff in partnership with outside counseling agencies will provide additional support to our students and staff this week. The family has asked for privacy and we will respect their wishes.”

Dr. Emmett Durtschi, Superintendent

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource and Green Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene in the Township of Seneca at about 9 a.m. Sunday.

Authorities say Easton was shot in the chest after a 41-year-old man attempted to unload his firearm while it was placed in the back seat of a vehicle. “At some point in that process, the firearm discharged and struck the victim as it travels through the back passenger of the vehicle,” the DNR’s Bob Kneeland said.

Easton was flown via Med Flight to a hospital where he died from his injuries.

The town chairman told Action 2 News Easton was hunting on private property that his family leases.

The DNR says Easton and the man who shot him, whose name hasn’t been released by authorities, were the only two people in their hunting party when the incident happened.

Now the community is mourning the boy’s death while helping to support his family. Some people who spoke with shed tears. A woman at the property told us she’s known the Thom family for years and is devastated by what’s happened.

Easton’s family is well-known in the community. His mom works for the Berlin School District. His father owns the Country Inn Bar & Grill on the outskirts of town. The restaurant, on behalf of the family, is asking for privacy at this time.

An account to contribute to the family was set up at Farmers & Merchants Bank in Berlin. The account name is “Benefit for the Easton Thom Family.” Monetary donations can be dropped off at the bank at 123 W. Huron St., by calling the bank at (920) 361-1454, or by mailing a check to:

Benefit for the Easton Thom Family

c/o Farmers & Merchants Bank

P.O. Box 270

Berlin, WI 54923

A Meal Train has been started for the Thom family. CLICK HERE to learn more about how you can help.

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Easton Thom was a sixth-grader at Berlin Middle School

The DNR is working with the sheriff’s office on the investigation.

“We have scanners and other technological equipment to just put together the pieces of the puzzle to kind of figure out what happened, and maybe learn something that maybe in the future we can potentially use that information to hopefully prevent tragedies in the future,” Kneeland told us.

“The Wisconsin DNR and the Green Lake County Sheriff’s Office express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of those impacted by this loss of life,” reads a statement released over the weekend.

Everyone is stressing the importance of hunter safety.

“Be safe. Think through what you’re going to do, and work through following the safety rules so that we can get everybody out there having a good time being safe and get them home at the end of the night,” Kneeland said. “Just think through what you’re doing, take that extra moment, and you never know if that’s going to help you out or not.”

The DNR says the middle-school student was shot by a member of his hunting party on private land his family leases