candlelight vigil for Hunter Curtis
Candlelight vigil for Hunter Curtis held at Franklin High School Tuesday night. Photos provided by Michaella Hedden

Brittney Raby – Staff Writer

A domestic disturbance Saturday night left one dead and an entire community torn apart. After a fight with his parents shortly after 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, 22-year-old Hunter Curtis passed away at Angel Medical Center as a result of a gunshot wound to the stomach.

With police reports citing the involvement of alcohol in the incident, community leaders are hoping that some good can come out of an unthinkable tragedy.

“All the kind words describing Hunter that I have seen and heard are accurate,” said Sheriff Robert Holland. “But we must also recognize the fact that he also had a darker side. To those closest to him, it is no secret that Hunter has been fighting alcohol and drug addiction for quite some time now. We believe his addiction is what contributed to his actions and ultimately led to this tragic event.  A clean and sober Hunter would have not assaulted his parents.  A clean and sober Hunter wouldn’t have kicked down his parents bathroom door. I’m confident if Hunter had the opportunity to change the course of his life, at the top of his list would be to steer clear of the poison that sent him spiraling down a dark path.  I’m confident Hunter, with that big Hunter smile, would encourage his friends that are heading down the same dark path to ask for help today. Tomorrow might be too late. While it is too late for Hunter – it’s not too late for his friends.”

Hunter’s mother, Monica Curtis, placed a call to Macon County 911 at 10:34 p.m. Saturday night asking for assistance because Hunter and her husband Tony were in a physical altercation. Monica reported that Hunter was “really drunk” and asked for authorities to quickly respond.

According to the incident report, Tony reported to Officer Bowman that Hunter had come home intoxicated and the two began arguing and fighting around the property. Tony noted that Hunter was locked outside of the house, and after hearing him shout, Tony let him into the residence.

After the initial 911 call was placed to dispatch, Macon County dispatch called Monica back to reassess the situation. While on the phone with dispatch, the dispute between Hunter and Tony can be heard in the background of the call, including the point in which authorities report Hunter began beating on the door of the bathroom door that Monica had locked herself into. After the banging on the bathroom door can be heard to end, the 911 call also recorded Tony yelling that he was going shoot Hunter, before what sounds to be a gunshot can be heard. The incident report states that when Hunter began hitting the bathroom door where his mother was located, Tony then retrieved a handgun from a drawer in the master bedroom.

Shortly after hearing the scuffle at the bathroom door, the dispatch call recorded Monica meeting the first officer to arrive on scene inside the residence. According to reports, Macon County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Bowman was first to arrive on scene and arrived at 10:37 p.m. Monica directs Deputy Bowman to the back of the house at which point the 911 dispatch call recorded Tony informing the deputy, “You need to call an ambulance, I shot him.”

The incident report also states Tony informed officers on scene that he had shot Hunter. Officers immediately began rendering aid to Hunter, applying pressure to the wound. MCSO deputy William D. Stamey secured the 380 pistol and magazine which was located on the bed in the master bedroom. Officer Stamey observed a spent casing still in the gun, which had caused the firearm to jam.

Hunter was placed into the ambulance at 10:54 p.m. and transported to Angel Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injury.

Alcohol is believed to have been consumed by both parties involved earlier in the day. Investigators who are still reviewing the case are awaiting the results of a toxicology report for Hunter.

The entire Macon community have been shaken by the events that unfolded on Saturday night. Many have taken to social media to remember Hunter for the compassionate young man he was.

“Hunter was a joy to be with,” said Ben Windle, pastor of Discover Church, the church Hunter attended and actively participated in. “His enthusiasm for everything and everyone was contagious. Thank you, Hunter for the way you faithfully served my family and Discover Church. You were a huge part of everything God has done and continues to do in my life and the Discover family. You were so selfless. I know you were as excited about seeing Discover’s new home and the impact it would have on our community as I was. This Sunday you had a front row seat. I missed your encouragement.”

Like Sheriff Holland, Windle hopes that this senseless tragedy can serve as a wake up call for people in the community who might the struggling with the same addictions as Hunter.

“Hunter had so much potential,” said Windle.”He was already a great friend, but he was beginning to press into the family business, he would’ve been a great business owner, father, and husband. Maybe even one day, when he allowed God to give him complete victory over the addictions that enslaved him, he would’ve been a great mentor and even pastor. Sadly, the Hunter we all know and love, under the influence of alcohol, forced a father to do the unimaginable. Hunter is no longer with us but many of the friends he cared about still are. If you are among the group of his friends that think it’s cool to get drunk and high, ‘It’s not hurting anybody,’ maybe you’re even planning to pour out a 40 for my friend Hunter, how dare you. Not just for Hunter, he was his own man and could make his own decisions, but for what you’re doing to yourself and your loved ones, my loved ones. It’s not too late for a second chance, Hunter did not die in vain. God is not mocked. Find the help you need to become the person God created you to be. You were created on purpose, for a purpose. Don’t let drugs and alcohol rule and ruin your life. If you need help in anyway, get in touch with me. There will be no judgement or condemnation, just the truth and grace you desperately need. We’ll get you plugged into people and organizations that can help. A God that can transform you. I miss my friend and my thoughts and prayers are with all that knew and loved him.”

Funeral services for Hunter are planned for Thursday, March 31 at 11 a.m at Discover Church with Rev. Steve Reeves, Rev. Patrick Trawick, and Rev. Ben Windle officiating. Burial will be in the Woodlawn Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. at Macon Funeral Home on Wednesday, March 30.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in memory of Hunter to Teen Challenge, an organization founded to combat alcohol and drug addiction in the community.

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