August 20, 2022

Locals had long reported rumours of a wild panther roaming the area

A teenager in America was tragically shot and killed after a she was mistaken for a wild panther in a late night prank gone awry, according to reports.

It was her partner that fired the weapon after wrongly believing that she was in fact a dangerous wild cat that had long been rumoured to be roaming Hendersonville, an area approximately 105 miles west of Charlotte.

In a newly released letter from Andrew Murray, District Attorney of Henderson, Transylvania and Polk counties as covered on news outlet WCTI12, the accident was labeled “tragic and heart wrenching” and no one has been charged over the killing.

The incident took place back on October 20 of last year when 18-year old Rachel Buchanan and her partner Chris Shields, Jr were socialising with another couple in a remote area on the outskirts of Hendersonville.

When Buchanan remembered that she’d left her phone charger at home, Shields and his friend Jake Barber went to retrieve it whilst Buchanan and Barber’s fiancé Autumn Nichols stayed behind.

According to reports, Barber volunteered to go along for “safety reasons” following stories of a popular legend that suggested a black panther roamed wild in the area. As detailed in Murray’s three-page letter after the fact, this urban myth was a “prominent theme in every interview that was completed of those familiar with the Conservative Lane area,” which they were in at the time.

Bringing weapons along for protection, the pair continued on their way to pick up the charger when Buchanan and Nichols devised a “spontaneously devised an ill-fated plan to play a prank on their respective boyfriend and fiancée.”

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Armed with some rotten eggs to throw at their partners, Buchanan and Nichols headed outside and proceeded to hide when Nichols claimed to have passed gas – making both of them laugh silently. The two men claimed to hear “what they perceived as a growl and stick breaking down the hill from where they were standing. Both also saw a dark figure and perceived the figure to be a threat.”

As a result, multiple shots were fired.

Upon realising their mistake, both men attempted to provide assistance after finding Buchanan on the ground “with what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds.” Despite paramedics arriving shortly afterwards, Buchanan sadly died whilst on her way to Pardee Hospital.

In his letter, district attorney Murray concluded that “it is obvious from their close relationships with Buchanan and Nichols, that neither Barber nor Shields, Jr. intended to shoot at or harm Buchanan or Nichols. However, the tragic result of their actions was that Buchanan was shot and killed by a 9mm projectile discharged from Barber’s firearm.

“Regrettably, everyone involved in the loss of Ms. Buchanan’s life must forever live with their personal decision-making and actions on this ill-fated night. The vibrant life of a loved one and friend was senselessly cut far too short.”

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