SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Investigators in Spartanburg County said improper handling of firearms has caused another death in the Upstate. The Sheriff’s Office says two incidents happened last week where someone was killed because of improper storage or handling of guns. They are encouraging everyone that has any sort of weapon to be responsible and that you can never be too careful.
“The sad, tragic part of this is both of the incidents could have been avoided,” said Lieutenant Kevin Bobo.
On Friday, September 23, deputies were called to Red Raven Drive in Greer. Lieutenant Kevin Bobo says the two 21-year-old men involved were middle school friends.
“They were doing some kind of quick draw competition to see who can pull the trigger fastest, and they had done it multiple times,” he said.
Officials say they had been doing it all night, around 14 times before that last draw.
“The last time, the suspect accidentally chambered a round into the chamber from the clip in his gun and tragically shot his longtime friend, dead,” said Lieutenant Bobo.
Raelan Hamilton, 21, was pronounced dead at the scene.
“I don’t know if they were trying to emulate some video game or some movie, who knows. There’s only two people that can answer that and one of them can’t speak anymore,” said the Lieutenant.
The suspect, James Turner and his grandfather were both interviewed, separately, twice, and their stories never changed.
“Nothing indicated to us that anything was staged, it’s just a tragic, unfortunate accident that could have been easily avoided,” said Lieutenant Bobo.
Earlier in the week, deputies say a mother was shot and killed after her child got ahold of her gun.
“There was evidence on the scene to support that the 3-year-old did actually pull the trigger,” said Lieutenant Bobo.
Lieutenant Bobo says the mom, 33-year-old Cora Bush, died later at the hospital.
“If you’ve got children in the house, or people that don’t know how to handle a firearm, you need to take precaution you can,” he said.
He says no charges were made in that case, but in the second case, Turner has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
“You can’t bring that bullet back once you pull the trigger,” he said.
Officials say Turner turned himself in Tuesday morning and was released on bond. Lieutenant Bobo says the Sheriff’s Office provides free gunlocks to the community.
The Spartanburg County Coroner says an autopsy was performed and they found a single gunshot wound on Hamilton.