Boys, 8 and 9, face involuntary manslaughter charges for shooting 62-year-old South Carolina man

The courthouse in Oconee County, South Carolina (Oconee County Sheriff's Office)

Charges are being sought against an 8-year-old and 9-year-old boy in connection to the shooting death of a man on a tractor in a South Carolina field.

Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw is seeking involuntary manslaughter charges against the pair of juveniles for the shooting death of 62-year-old Danny Andrew Smith along Coffee Road last Wednesday.

"After a consultation with the Solicitor’s Office, and based on the evidence obtained in our ongoing investigation, 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," the sheriff said in a release on Friday.

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.

"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," the sheriff 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.

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

Westminster, South Carolina is located about 97 miles northeast of Atlanta and about 41 miles west-southwest of Greenville, South Carolina.

This story is being reported out of Atlanta. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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