Hunter Shot By Dog in Deadly Accident Remembered as 'Truly Amazing Man' Who 'Wasn't Hard to Love'

The man killed in a freak hunting accident in Kansas over the weekend is being remembered for his extraordinary personality.

Joseph Austin Smith, 30, of Wichita, died Saturday morning when his dog discharged his gun while they both were inside his pickup truck, the Sumner County Sheriff's Office says in a series of press releases, obtained by PEOPLE.

The victim was sitting in the front passenger seat of his vehicle when the dog "stepped on the rifle" in the back seat, according to the department. The bullet struck Smith, who "died of his injuries" at the scene.

Smith was a "beloved employee" at Browns Plumbing Services, according to a GoFundMe campaign started by the Wichita-based business.

His coworker Chris described his friend in a post on the site as "the most unique individual I have had the pleasure of meeting" who "always had something to lift our spirits."

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"He was loved by all of us from all walks of life and loved the same," Chris wrote in the GoFundMe description. "He made us laugh every morning whether it was at him or because of him he always made sure to be a positive light at my company."

He added, "I have been a plumber for a long time and met many many different guys but never have I met another Joe and I am confident there may not be another."

Joe Smith
Joe Smith


Jessica, who also worked with Smith, described her friend as "a truly amazing man" who was "was kind, funny, smart, and very loving."

"Every time he walked through the door, he would make someone smile. Either from being a goofball or just his natural presence making everything better," she said, per the GoFundMe.

"It wasn't hard to love Joe," she added, "because he always made you feel like you were one of a kind and never left a conversation without letting you know he loved you. Joe is going to be dearly missed by so many."

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So far, more than $10,000 has been raised via GoFundMe to support Smith's family in wake of his death.

Donations "will go directly to the family" to help cover funeral costs and "any other expenses that arise for the family in the coming months," which Chris said will "allow Joe's family to grieve without the burden of financial stress."

"We will forever feel so blessed to have him in our lives for just a short time," Chris wrote, adding, "We will never forget you, Joe."