Jason Albert Kutt was sitting at the edge of the lake with his girlfriend Saturday, waiting for the sun to set, authorities say, when he was struck by a single, fatal gunshot to the back of the head.
The 18-year-old died of his wounds Monday morning. Now authorities in Pennsylvania are asking for the public’s help in piecing together what happened.
Kutt was shot around 5 p.m. at Nockamixon State Park, according to Matt Weintraub, Bucks County district attorney. Kutt’s girlfriend, whom Weintraub did not name at a news conference Monday, told authorities that after Kutt was shot, she saw a man in an orange vest that she described as hunter’s clothing.
“We want to get to the bottom of this,” Weintraub said, asking the public for any information that could help solve the case. “We don’t even know if a crime has been committed yet. But we need to understand how Jason Kutt died, and we need your help to do that.”
Kutt’s girlfriend said the man in orange was standing behind a yellow gate at the park’s Old Ridge Road access, according to Weintraub, and was seen walking away after Kutt was shot.
Weintraub said authorities think the gunshot was fired from about 550 feet away from where the couple was sitting. When asked by reporters whether Kutt could have been mistaken for an animal, he said that would “be difficult.” Hunters were allowed in the park the day Kutt was shot.
The district attorney would not comment on the what kind of gun the bullet was fired from.
Weintraub added that Kutt was a “large man” and indicated that it would be hard to imagine someone mistaking him for an animal. Kutt was wearing a black hat with a bright orange brim at the time he was shot, Weintraub said.
Police officers searched the area for suspects with the description provided but could not find any.
After he was given first aid, Kutt was taken to St. Luke’s University Hospital-Bethlehem, where he was pronounced dead early Monday.
Weintraub said it remained unclear whether the shooting was an accident, and he was unwilling to rule out any scenario.
“Things can happen on purpose, they can happen knowingly, they can happen recklessly, they can happen through gross negligence or purely by accident,” he said. “We need to understand what the shooter’s intent was, whether there was actually any criminal mental state.”
Weintraub avoided calling Kutt’s killing a homicide, saying that he did not want to “prejudge” what was in the shooter’s mind.
Authorities said that while they could not definitely rule out that someone had deliberately shot Kutt and walked away, there was no information available to think that had been the case.
“This was a young kid with his whole life ahead of him who had no apparent enemies, who had done nothing wrong, had done nothing to incur any wrath from anyone,” Weintraub said.
“I don’t want to chill anybody from coming forward,” he added. “If you are in fact responsible and you have an explanation … please come forward. Jason Kutt and his family deserve it.”
Kutt was a graduate of Pennridge High School and was originally from Sellersville, Pa. Kutt’s family wrote on Facebook that he “loved playing his guitars, video games, and talking walks in nature to take amazing pictures and spending time with his girlfriend,” the Morning Call reported.