WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Joe Smith, a 30-year-old Kansas man who was fatally shot by a dog during a hunting trip over the weekend, is being remembered fondly by his friends.
“He touched everyone that he knew,” said Chris Brown, Smith’s friend and boss. “I would hear him out there making people laugh and singing and just filling everyone full of joy.”
Smith was riding in the passenger seat of a pickup truck on Saturday, according to the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office. A rifle and some hunting gear were in the back seat, along with a dog belonging to the driver of the truck.
Investigators say the dog stepped on the rifle, causing it to discharge. Smith was hit in the back.
Responding units arrived within minutes and tried to revive him, but Smith died at the scene.
Smith’s friends and family are now remembering him as a lover of life and a man who had a bright future.
Smith, according to those who knew him, was a loving son and brother, as well as a talented singer, a well-liked worker, and a light to many.
“Every day, no matter how Joe was feeling that morning, Joe would bring light to this company,” Brown said. “That man was loved by everybody here, and the fact that he took time out of his life short life to tell other people about how much he liked them. He’s a wonderful soul.”
Family friend Melissa Slates described Smith’s loss as devastating in a statement.
“You are what weak men wish to be and what rich men cannot buy,” she wrote, in part. “Genuine.”
Brown, who also set up an online fundraiser to help cover the costs of a funeral and memorial, said he hopes everyone takes a lesson from Smith’s approach to life.
“Have fun and enjoy every day, because you never know when it will be over.”