8-year-old, 9-year-old face manslaughter charges in connection to shooting death

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Jul. 4 2021, Published 1:09 p.m. ET

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Two children — aged 8 and 9 years old — face charges in connection to the shooting death of a 62-year-old man in South Carolina last month.

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The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office announced it filed charges in family court last week in connection to the shooting death of Danny Andrew Smith.

An 8-year-old and 9-year-old were charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to the office. Their names have not been released.

Under South Carolina law, juveniles under 10 years old can not be detained, so both suspects have been placed with their parents as they await trial.

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Police say they are not releasing information about the motive or how the children got the gun, according to the sheriff’s office. The weapon used in the shooting was a .22-caliber rifle.

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Smith’s wife called 911 on June 23 after she could not find her husband. Deputies responded to the scene and found the victim slumped over the steering wheel of a tractor-trailer, according to the sheriff’s office. The vehicle was still running but had gone done an embankment and hit a tree.

Deputies say Smith was shot once in the back.

“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,” Sheriff Mike Crenshaw said in announcing the charges. “At this time, it is still undetermined which shot ultimately struck and killed Mr. Smith. However, based upon South Carolina law, the hand of one is the hand of all and that is why Family Court has been petitioned in regards to charging both juveniles with involuntary manslaughter.”

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