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No charges after woman mistaken for panther shot, killed in Henderson County

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A North Carolina district attorney says the shooting death of a woman who was mistaken for a panther was a “tragic and heart-wrenching accident” for which no charges will be filed.

District Attorney Andrew Murray wrote this week that Rachel Buchanan, 19, her boyfriend and another couple were at a home outside Hendersonville on Oct. 20 when the two men left on foot to retrieve a phone charger, news outlets reported.

Both men were armed because of word that a black panther was prowling in the woods and had been sighted, Murray said.

Buchanan and the other woman decided to play a prank on the men and throw rotten eggs at them as they returned. The women began laughing and the men mistook the noise for a panther growling, Murray said.

The two men opened fire with a 12-gauge shotgun and a 9 mm pistol. Buchanan was hit in the head and the chest, according to the district attorney.

According to the statement, the guns the men used were legally owned. Murray said no laws were violated and no charges will be filed, adding that the case is closed.

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