Cecil the Lion Killing: Walter J. Palmer Is Getting Confused With Accused Shooter

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/ Source: NBC News
By Jon Schuppe

He is the Walter J. Palmer you know nothing about.

He is 80 years old. He sells insurance. He lives in Minneapolis.

And he wants people to stop calling his home to tell him how much they hate him.

Ever since another man named Walter J. Palmer was revealed as the big game hunter accused of poaching a beloved African lion named Cecil, the other Walter J. Palmer, who lives about 12 miles away, has received dozens of angry phone calls. They've loaded up his voicemail and led to some pretty upsetting conversations.

“They wanted to tell me what they thought of me. And there were some pretty ugly, abusive calls," Palmer told NBC affiliate KARE.

The callers all thought they were speaking to dentist Walter J. Palmer of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, who is believed to have shot the lion on July 1 after it was illegally lured outside of a protected national park in Zimbabwe. Officials in that country are seeking his extradition. Two locals involved in the hunt have already been arrested for the killing.

Walter J. Palmer, the insurance salesman, said that when he explained the mistake, some callers turned polite and apologized. But not all of them. Some "would argue with me that I was who I was," he told the station.

The closest Walter J. Palmer the insurance salesman has gotten to African lions is, actually, pretty close. He once went on an South African safari, armed only with a camera.

He shows off his photo album to prove it.

“It’s much more fun to shoot an animal with a camera than it is with a gun,” he said.