Forest ranger shoots off knee cap in accident

Published 4:14 pm Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Stone County forest ranger was listed in stable condition following a weekend accident where he apparently shot off his knee cap.

Family members are still trying to piece together what happened Sunday evening to Dale Cupp, 43.

“It was discovered Mr. Cupp attempted to shoot a snake that attacked him in the garden,” Sheriff Mike Farmer said.

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The snake apparently got away.

Cupp was listed in stable condition Monday evening in Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, but he is on a respirator unable to speak.

“I know more rumor than I know fact,” said his wife, Lorinda Cupp. “The only fact I know is that he was shot. I don’t know if he tripped, if a snake latched on to him and he pulled the trigger out of reflex. Or what.”

Cupp dialed 911 on his cell phone and his address popped up on the emergency phone line. Responders were able to call his mother and wife because their phone numbers were in his cell phone address book.

The Stone County Sheriff’s Department responded to his 911 call. A report from that department mentions a snake bite on the left rear of the thigh area.

While Stone County has both rattlesnakes and cottonmouths, police said they rarely get reports of snake bites.

Lorinda Cupp said Monday that surgeons were not sure if her husband will lose his leg.