South Carolina man accidentally kills friend in ‘quick draw’ gun contest

Friends had been playing with guns all night, police say

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Sunday 02 October 2022 00:33 BST
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Police in South Carolina are investigating how a gunslinger-style quick draw competition between friends resulted in an accidental fatal shooting, Fox Carolina reports.

Spartanburg County sheriffs were called to a house in the city of Greer on 23 September, after reports of a shot fired.

James Turner and Raelan Hamilton, 21, both gun enthusiasts, had spent that night competing to see who could draw their gun fastest.

After 14 match-ups, Turner told police he accidentally chambered a round on the 15th head-to-head and pulled the trigger from “muscle memory.”

The county solicitor’s office told Fox Carolina Turner’s own statements, as well as family member testimony and physical evidence, gives them enough evidence to charge the 21-year-old with involuntary manslaughter.

A search of local inmates held in county jail did not turn up any indication James Turner had been arrested.

“Since this incident was the second tragic incident last week involving either the improper storage or handling of firearms, this agency would like to remind all of our citizens to exercise the upmost caution when handling any weapon,” the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement after the shooting.

Jodie Cooley Hamilton, who identified herself as Raelan Hamilton’s mother, wrote in a Facebook post that Turner, who was Raelan’s “best friend,” has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

“My son just became the victim in this horrible tragedy,” she wrote. “I do not wish any ill will towards this young man. I have no hate in my heart for this young man. I would greatly appreciate everyone praying for him, because one stupid decision, one careless act, has ruined so many lives, including his. He has to live with this forever!”

The Independent has contacted the Spartanburg County sheriff’s office and solicitor’s office for comment.

About one per cent of gun deaths are accidental, according to CDC data, while the majority are suicides, followed by murders.

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