(WESTMINSTER, SC) – An 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old boy have been charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of a 62-year-old man in South Carolina.
The incident happened on Wednesday, June 30, when MPs from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office responded to an area just northwest of Westminster, South Carolina, after receiving a call from the woman of the man saying she had gone to the property to search for her husband after not being able to make contact with him and still could not locate him, according to a press release from the County Sheriff’s Department Oconee on Thursday July 1st.
When MPs responded to the scene, they were finally able to locate Danny Andrew Smith, 62, who was unresponsive as he was slumped over the wheel of his tractor which was still working but had descended an embankment before hitting a tree.
Following an investigation into the incident, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office announced that a petition had been filed in family court accusing an 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old boy of Manslaughter regarding Smith’s gunshot death, according to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.
âAfter consultation with the prosecutor’s office and based on the evidence obtained in the course of our ongoing investigation, we believe the two young men recklessly fired a gun at Mr. Smith who was on the move. monopolizing family property, âOconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw said. âAt this time, it is still unclear which shot ultimately hit and killed Mr. Smith. However, based on South Carolina law, one’s hand is everyone’s hand and that is why family court was seized to charge the two minors with manslaughter.
Based on evidence obtained during the investigation as well as the autopsy, authorities determined that Smith suffered a single gunshot wound to his back which ultimately killed him.
In South Carolina, minors under the age of 10 cannot be detained, so the two suspected minors have been placed in the custody of their parents as court proceedings continue, according to Sheriff Crenshaw.
“The sheriff’s office is continuing its investigation and as a result, no information will be released that will identify the minors in this matter,” the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office said. “At this time, no information on the motive or where the firearm was obtained will be released due to the ongoing investigation and any further details will be released if conditions and developments warrant.”
The weapon believed to have been used in the shooting, a .22 caliber rifle, was recovered and examined by the SLED Forensic Lab in Columbia, South Carolina.
It is currently unclear which boy pulled the trigger that killed Smith, but the investigation into the shooting is ongoing.
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