Boys, 8 and 9, are charged with shooting South Carolina man to death with a rifle


Boys, 8 and 9, are charged with shooting South Carolina man to death with a rifle while he was ‘bush hogging’ on his family’s property

  • Both boys shot at Danny Andrew Smith with a rifle as he rode his tractor in the field near Westminster on June 23
  • Smith, 62, was shot once in the back, but investigators charged both boys because they both fired the gun in Smith’s direction 
  • The boys have been charged with involuntary manslaughter as juveniles in Family Court and their names were not released 
  • Under South Carolina law, they are too young to be kept at a juvenile jail so they were released to their parents 
  • Deputies have the .22 caliber rifle used to kill Smith but investigators are not releasing how the boys got the rifle 

An 8-year-old and a 9-year-old boy have been charged with involuntary manslaughter after allegedly killing a man who was shot with a rifle while cutting down brush in a South Carolina field, authorities said.

Both boys shot at Danny Andrew Smith with a rifle as he rode his tractor in the field near Westminster on June 23, Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw said in a statement.

Smith, 62, was shot once in the back, but investigators charged both boys because they both fired the gun in Smith’s direction, Crenshaw said.

The boys are charged as juveniles in Family Court and their names were not released. Under South Carolina law, they are too young to be kept at a juvenile jail so they were released to their parents, the sheriff said.

Deputies have the .22 caliber rifle used to kill Smith, but Crenshaw said investigators are not releasing how the boys got the rifle or why they shot at Smith.

Smith, pictured left, was shot while he rode his tractor in a field near Westminster

Both boys shot at Danny Andrew Smith, pictured, with a rifle as he rode his tractor in the field near Westminster on June 23

His sister Vickie Wilbanks talked about the tragedy with WSPA about the horrific tragedy

His sister Vickie Wilbanks talked about the tragedy with WSPA about the horrific tragedy

Smith’s wife Marilynn found him slumped over in the driver’s seat of his tractor after it ran into woods and struck a tree. An autopsy found he had been shot in the back about four to six hours before his body was found.

His sister Vickie Wilbanks talked about the tragedy with WSPA about the horrific tragedy.

‘It’s a very difficult time because we haven’t gotten over losing our parents three days apart and now I’ve lost the only brother I have,’ Wilbanks told the outlet. 

Wilbanks said her brother was ‘bush hogging’ her parents property at 1490 Coffee Road when Smith was shot. 

‘We were just devastated. Devastated, and heartbroken because he is such a precious man. Never would harm anyone. Everyone loved him,’ Wilbanks said. 

Neighbor Haskell Long, who lives near the family’s property, told WSPA that Smith’s death was a ‘shock’ and speculated that the death might have been an accident.

Wilbanks said her brother was 'bush hogging' her parents property at 1490 Coffee Road, pictured, when Smith was shot

Wilbanks said her brother was ‘bush hogging’ her parents property at 1490 Coffee Road, pictured, when Smith was shot

An aerial view shows the property where Smith was shot last month

An aerial view shows the property where Smith was shot last month

‘It was really a shock. Nobody expects something like this where we live. It’s just something you don’t hear of, and knowing Danny, he don’t have any enemies. I have no clue about anyone that would shoot him,’ Long said. 

‘Just seems like it must be an accident, but we just don’t know what kind or how, or anything like that. Real shocking to all of us.’ 

Long added: ‘We feel terrible that something like this happened and the loss of him. He was just such a great person. I just hate to lose someone like that.’

According to his obituary, Smith was retired from US Engine Valve and served as a volunteer fireman with the Cleveland Fire Department Station 10.

Smith’s greatest passion was riding his Harley, according to his obituary.  

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