In the gunshot death of a 62-year-old man in South Carolina, an 8-year-old child and a 9-year-old kid have been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
According to a press release from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, the incident occurred on Wednesday, June 30.
Deputies from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office responded to an area just northwest of Westminster, South Carolina, after receiving a call from the man’s wife saying she went to the property to look for her husband after being unable to contact him and still being unable to locate him.
When deputies arrived on the scene, they discovered Danny Andrew Smith, 62, who was unconscious and slumped over the steering wheel of his tractor, which was still operating but had gone down an embankment before striking a tree.
Following an investigation into the event, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office reported that a petition had been filed in Family Court charging an 8-year-old child and a 9-year-old boy with involuntary manslaughter in connection with Smith’s gunshot death.
“We believe that both juvenile males discharged a firearm in a reckless manner in the direction of Mr. Smith who was bush hogging on some family property,” said Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw, after consulting with the Solicitor’s Office and based on evidence obtained in our ongoing investigation.
“At this point, it is unknown which of the two shots that killed Mr. Smith was fired. However, according to South Carolina law, the hand of one is the hand of all, which is why both minors have been charged with Involuntary Manslaughter in Family Court.”
Authorities decided that Smith died as a result of a single gunshot wound to the back, based on information gathered throughout the inquiry as well as the autopsy.
According to Sheriff Crenshaw, children under the age of ten cannot be imprisoned in South Carolina, thus both of the juvenile suspects have been returned to the custody of their parents while the legal procedures continue.
The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office stated, “The Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation, and as a result, no information will be provided that will identify the minors in this instance.”
“At this time, owing to the continuing investigation, no information regarding the motivation or where the firearm was obtained will be published, and any more data will be released when conditions and developments warrant.”
The SLED forensics lab in Columbia, South Carolina, has seized and analyzed the.22 caliber rifle that was allegedly used in the shooting.
The identity of the youngster who fired the shot that killed Smith is unknown at this time, but the investigation into the killing is ongoing.