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Indictment of teen draws muted reaction

Profile image for By Megan Gray / Staff Writer
By Megan Gray / Staff Writer

Manslaughter charge brought forth in death of Guyer football player

“I’m scared, I’m scared,” said a frantic-sounding Michael Bryce Underwood while calling 911 late Aug. 31.

Underwood accidentally shot and killed his best friend, Guyer High School student-athlete Nathan Maki, while they were camping with friends — including two 18-year-old women — on Underwood’s 109-acre family-owned property outside Bowie over Labor Day weekend, Montague County Sheriff Paul Cunningham said last month.

One day after the 17-year-old Underwood was indicted on a manslaughter charge and 911 recordings were made public, reactions were muted from people who knew Maki.

Underwood’s family referred all calls to William Knowlton, a Bowie attorney. Calls to Knowlton’s office were not returned.

Guyer High Principal Barbara Fischer said Tuesday that she hadn’t yet seen any noticeable reactions from students about the indictment, which was handed down Monday.

Fischer had no comment on the indictment, but added that counseling was still available for students coping with Maki’s death.

On the 911 recording, Underwood can be heard telling a dispatcher he was calling coyotes to hunt when he pulled his gun to the left and accidentally pulled the trigger. He said the safety on the .22-caliber semiautomatic rifle was off and the bullet went into Maki’s head. Maki was sitting in the driver’s seat of a white 2008 Chevrolet pickup. Underwood said his friend was not breathing, and an air ambulance was dispatched.

Officials said Maki was later pronounced dead at Bowie Memorial Hospital.

Maki’s mother was not immediately available for comment on the indictment.

At the time of the shooting, Underwood was taken into custody on a charge of consumption of alcohol by a minor. According to a probable cause affidavit, a breath test taken from Underwood showed a blood alcohol content of 0.086 percent. The state defines intoxication as having a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher.

According to the affidavit, Underwood said he been drinking beer when the shooting occurred. The affidavit noted there were empty beer cans in and around the pickup, as well as a cooler in the bed containing several unopened cans of beer.

Guyer head football coach John Walsh said that Monday’s indictment didn’t bring closure, since the team’s closure was attending Maki’s funeral and paying tribute during a pregame ceremony Sept. 5.

“Anything that’s coming out now, you know, it stirs up some emotion, but it’s neither here nor there for us,” Walsh said. “We still talk about him, we still take roll check with him on the roster, and that’s the end of it with us.”

Staff writers Adam Boedeker and Britney Tabor contributed to this report.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.