Families cope with shooting

Published 11:44 am Thursday, January 7, 2016


An account for Hunter Escue’s family has been opened at TrustMark Bank in Oxford. Donations can be made in cash or by check. Checks need to be made out to Debbie Paine with “Hunter Blake Escue” written in the “For” line.

Donations can also be dropped off at the Oxford EAGLE office.

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The fatal shooting of an 18-year-old man is still being investigated as an accidental shooting, according to Oxford Police Department officials.

However, the tragic event has families reeling from shock and heartbreak.

The two men involved in the shooting were first cousins, but some say were more like brothers. They recently had moved into their own place together, and the two had grown up together.

OPD investigators responded to their home at 110 Old Taylor Road at about 5 p.m. Tuesday in response to a caller who told 911 dispatch that someone had been shot and was unresponsive.

Hunter Escue, 18, was found unresponsive with obvious injuries from a gunshot wound. He was immediately taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi where he was pronounced dead, according to Lafayette County Coroner Rocky Kennedy.

Officers interviewed Austin McLarty, 20, of Oxford who said he was the one who called 911. Investigators said the men were handling firearms, when a shot was reportedly fired from Austin’s pistol, striking and killing Hunter.

OPD Maj. Jeff McCutchen said no charges had been filled as of Wednesday afternoon and that the case is still under investigation. Police are conducting interviews and results from evidence were sent to the Mississippi Crime Lab along with an autopsy report. OPD officials could not be reached for comment or updates this morning.

McLarty is the oldest son of Lafayette County Supervisor Chad McLarty. Board president Jeff Busby said the board’s thoughts and prayers are with both families.

“It’s a tragic accident,” Busby said. “I hope the community keeps both families in their thoughts and prayers as well. Our hearts go out to them. This board will certainly do all we can do show them love and support.”

McLarty was not injured but was transported to the hospital for observation, according to a family member.

Debbie Paine with Deborah Kaye School of Dance is helping to raise money for Escue’s family, who apparently did not have burial insurance for Escue, according to a mass email sent by Paine this morning. 

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the family can put a check in the mailbox at the dance studio. Put all donations in an envelope with “Donation” written on the outside. Paine will collect donations today and Friday and will write one check to the family Friday afternoon.