The mother of a boy accidentally killed by his father in a hunting accident spoke to KARE 11 via email.
Amber Klaseus described the incident as a "terrible tragedy" and describes her husband, Tony, as "the safest hunter I know!"
Eight-year-old Hunter Klaseus of Belle Plaine loved few things more than hunting, fishing, or being in the woods with his dad, Tony.
"He called his dad his best friend in the world," his grandmother said.
Just before 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Tony Klaseus accidentally shot and killed Hunter while they were turkey hunting about three miles west of Belle Plaine.
Hunter's mom said she could understand how it happened because Hunter "always wanted to be right by his daddy, following in his footsteps and be right in the middle of the action."
"It's a tragedy, an absolute tragedy," said Sibley County Sheriff Bruce Ponath.
Ponath said Hunter and Tony were both wearing camouflage. Tony carried a 12-gauge shot gun.
Ponath said Tony told Hunter to stay on the edge of a field while Tony went to chase some turkeys.
Instead, Hunter followed his dad until he was about 20 yards away from him.
"He came up on his dad and his dad mistook him for a turkey," Ponath said.
Hunter was shot once in the chest. Ponath said Tony used his cell phone to call 911 and then carried Hunter about a quarter of a mile to meet first responders.
Hunter was pronounced dead at the scene.
"That family is going through very hard times right now," Ponath said.
In a statement Amber sent to KARE 11 by email she says, "Parents, please take the time to say good morning to your children every day and tuck them in at night. Say 'I Love You' to them and kiss them as often as you can - as I always tried to do. Take the time to spend time with them and really enjoy each and every day, because you never know when it may be the last!"
Hunter was a third grader at Raven Stream Elementary School in New Prague.
"I don't think it's really even hit home for myself," says principal Pat Pribyl. "And I know it's going to be very difficult for students [Monday]."
Pribyl says the school's crisis team met Sunday and grief counselors will be at the school Monday.
"Hunter was a great kid," Pribyl says. "He will be truly missed."
Sheriff Ponath said Tony Klaseus does have a hunting license. Ponath said the shooting is under investigation and that it is too early to say if charges will be filed.
Hunter would have turned nine at the end of April.
Hunter's grandmother called Hunter and his dad "best buddies."
"He was fun-loving, full of life," she said. "He was the most wonderful kid in the world."
According to Amber, funeral arrangements are pending. Amber and Tony have two other children.
(Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)