Man killed after being mistaken for squirrel by hunter

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A man is dead after a hunting accident in New York.

Authorities say a hunter thought the victim was a squirrel and shot him.

Vienchaleun and Saysamone Kettavong fled a concentration camp in Laos with their six children in 1982 and came to the United States.

“We were planning their 50th anniversary, actually,” said Pepsy Kettavong.

Saysamone wept as she knelt in front of a photo of her late husband.

Pepsy Kettavong says his father lived for his family and worked so all of the children could go to college.

“He made a lot of sacrifices for his children and will be missed,” said Pepsy.

Pepsy says his father loved to hunt because it was peaceful in the woods behind their home.

“He was in the military, being out in the field and out in the concentration camp, you spend a lot of time in solitude,” he said.

He says his father was alone when he went hunting Tuesday behind his house.

Pepsy says he ran into a friend and his son, who were also hunting.

That friend’s son, 32-year-old P. Kounnavong, told police he thought he shot at a squirrel.

The family says they are still waiting to hear from police about the investigation.

However, they say it was hours before his body was found in the woods.

“This is like 11 o’clock and he’s been out there dead five hours and when I come back, the first thing my mom said was, ‘He hasn’t eaten dinner and it’s getting cold,” Pepsy said.

Police took the family into the woods to let them say goodbye.

“Out of respect to my mom’s request, she wanted to say farewell where he was lying and we got the chance to do that,” he said.

The sheriff’s office says the shooting appears to be an accident but they are still investigating.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is also involved because this happened on state-owned land.

The Kettavong family is making funeral arrangements and will honor their father by doing as he did, embracing American culture and taking care of the family.

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