LAFAYETTE, Ga. - Matthew Tyler Webb was hunting deer Thursday night when he heard rustling and saw movement in the woods. But he didn't know what it was, any of it, he later told police.
The moving and noise quickly stopped. In the silence, police say, Webb fired his rifle.
Immediately, he heard a scream.
About 15 yards away, across a thicket of briar, Webb found his girlfriend bleeding. He had shot Audrey Mayo in the lower leg.
LaFayette Police Department Capt. Stacey Meeks said Webb, 23, took off his shirt and wrapped it around Mayo's wound before calling 911 around 5:45 p.m. About three minutes later, officers arrived at 910 Hillsdale Road and Webb guided them into the woods.
Officers found Mayo, 24, of 70 Raleigh Drive, passed out. She looked like she was going into shock.
"It was a really bad scene," Meeks said. "There was a massive amount of blood."
A LifeForce helicopter ambulance crew flew Mayo to Erlanger hospital where doctors performed surgery. Meeks said Mayo was in critical but stable condition as of 2 a.m. Friday.
Officers arrested Webb on a charge of firing a gun within 150 feet of a roadway. Meeks said other charges will follow, but the Georgia Department of Natural Resources will handle the investigation because Webb was hunting.
Capt. Johnny Johnson, a regional DNR supervisor, said several other charges could be filed against Webb, but first Johnson will have to meet with members of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit district attorney's office -- probably next week.
Johnson said Webb could be charged with misuse of a firearm, a hunting license violation and failing to wear orange. If Webb and Mayo had been wearing proper hunting clothes, Johnson said, the accidental shooting probably would not have happened.
"People are mistaken for game because they're not wearing that orange," he said. "That seems to be the case here."
Johnson said Webb may also get charged with hunting under the influence, but that depends on what shows up on Webb's toxicology report. After the shooting, Meeks said, Webb told investigators he took several illegal drugs Thursday.
Then, Webb told investigators, he and Mayo hung out on the roof of his house. As they sat together, Webb said he watched several deer run through the woods on the other side of Hillsdale Road, right next to Lowell Greene Recreation Center.
Webb grabbed a rifle and walked into the woods.
Webb told police that Mayo said she would stay in the house. But, instead, she decided to join her boyfriend.
Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.