Authorities in South Africa are trying to figure out who was behind the fatal shooting of a big game hunter who was struck by a stray bullet as he hunted his prey himself. The slain man was reportedly aiming at a lion in the moments leading up to his bizarre death.
Police spokeswoman Charlize van der Linden said that 75-year-old Pero Jelinic had already killed one lion and was one his way to felling another when he himself was shot, News24 reported.
“He was airlifted to Vryburg Hospital by helicopter, but doctors were unable to save the man’s life,” she said.
Jelinic, a hotelier from Croatia, was hunting captive-bred lions alongside two other Croatians at a hunting lodge in the northwestern part of the country when the incident occurred.
“A case of culpable homicide has been opened, and police are also investigating charges of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition,” Van der Linden said. “At this stage it is not clear who fired the fatal shot that killed Mr Jelinic. Our investigations are ongoing.”
Slavko Pernar, a friend of Jelinic’s, claimed that the deceased man “was a passionate hunter of big and small game, and in search of that he travelled most of the world.”
“For the past year he had leased his hotel to dedicate himself to the things he planned to accomplish and enjoy a deserved retirement,” Pernar told a Croatian newspaper. “He, unfortunately, received the ugliest end – he died in South Africa doing what he loved. His office, a hunting hall, was full of trophies, deer and bear specimens and everything that could be hunted in Croatia and Europe.”
Dr. Gideon Engelbrecht, the owner of the hunting lodge where the incident occurred, told News24 that he was not present at the time and helped arrange the helicopter that took Jelinic to the hospital.