ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said an 8-year-old boy was killed in an accidental shooting over the weekend.
Just before 3 p.m. on Sunday, investigators were called to a Bowman area home where they saw a "father holding his son, the victim's motionless body," according to the report.
"Deputies reported running immediately to the father's aid where they noticed a handgun nearby," OCSO officials said."The weapon was secured."
The boy's father told investigators that he and a relative were in a vehicle awaiting another relative for a trip to a store.
"The child was seated in the back when the two men in the front seats said they heard a gunshot," authorities said."The men immediately attempted to render aid after realizing what happened."
A pistol had been kept in the vehicle, the father said.
"This is a horrific, tragic situation in which this child found a weapon and while handling it, the weapon discharged," the sheriff said. "We mourn the loss of an innocent victim whose life we can only say was far, far too short."
Ravenell said in a statement there is an investigation ongoing to determine if this incident was an accident, and also if charges are warranted.
"In my more than three decades of service, these have to be the saddest cases by far," Ravenell said."All cases are tragic but very little compares with the loss of a child. Now is not the time to point fingers. Now is a time to uplift a family stricken with grief at this sudden and so tragic loss."