A La Crosse teenager, shot to death while video tapeing wildlife, provided evidence that led to charges on Wednesday against the man accused of firing the fatal shots.
An accident is one thing, but Russell Schroeder is accused of something much more callous.
The 24-year-old was hunting squirrels Saturday, a trespasser on private land north of Sparta, Wisconsin, when he claims he saw movement and fired two shots. Then he heard screaming.
Both of the 22 caliber bullets Schroeder fired had struck 17-year-old Seth Hammes.. The teen was in the woods pursuing his hobby of videotaping wildlife. Hours later, when Hammes didn't come home police were notified and a search began. His body and his video camera were found.
According to the criminal complaint, the camera recorded Schroeder walking up to a gravely wounded Hammes and saying "he had a cell phone and would call for help" and that "he would go for help."
Authorities say Schroeder did neither. He instead went to a birthday party, then home to play video games, before leaving for work.
Schroeder would later tell authorities he was going to call 911, but feared that if he did, he would get into trouble.
Tuesday, Schroeder was charged with first degree reckless homicide in Monroe County, Wisconsin.
Seth Hammes was remembered at his visitation as a lover of nature and a volunteer with a non profit group that puts on fireworks displays in the La Crosse area.
A group that is already planning an end of year tribute to Hammes.
"There will be a shell shot on New Years Eve that will have a big smile up way in the sky and that will be Seth smiling down on everybody in the city of La Crosse," said Doug Seymour of the
La Crosse Skyrockers.
An autopsy showed Seth Hammes died of a gunshot wound to the heart. He was also shot in the side.
By Boyd Huppert, KARE 11 News
(Copyright 2005 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)