A 6-year-old died after he was shot by a 17-year-old during a hunting accident in South Carolina, authorities say.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said the child was in an elevated stand and "appears to have been struck by a stray shotgun pellet from a shooter on the ground," on Friday.
The agency did not release the child's name, but his family and the Orangeburg County Coroner’s Office confirmed his identity as 6-year-old Avery Davis to local outlet WIS.
The boy was in an elevated stand and appears to have been struck by a stray shotgun pellet from a shooter on the ground. Investigators are awaiting more information from the coroner's report. Our sympathy remains with the child's family and loved ones. 2/2
— S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources (@SCDNR) November 27, 2023
6-year-old was accidentally shot
The agency ruled the fatal shooting an accident but did not specify much detail on how it happened or if any criminal charges would be pursued.
"Our sympathy remains with the child's family and loved ones," the agency said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.
The coroner's office told WIS that Avery had been hit in the head by a stray bullet.
"There is so much to say about this bright soul and big heart but I don't know where to begin. Everyone that knew this boy of mine loved him. He was a live wire that was known all across the country for his silly ways and love of the outdoors. He definitely got his money worth out of his 6 short years on earth," Avery's father Jeremy Davis wrote in a tribute post on Facebook.
On Monday, Avery's family took his body to a local operating room to have his organs removed so they could be donated, WIS reported.
"Avery is an organ donor and we are praying that he can save as many children as possible and I'm honored that his legacy can live on through others. I couldn't be prouder of my son and rest assured he will never be forgotten. He was one of the toughest houndsmen, fisherman, outdoorsman, and athlete that I've ever known," Davis said of his son.
He was described as an outdoorsy kid who also loved to write.
“Avery was just the brightest little light. He was the bubbliest little boy with the best smile, fun-loving, just all boy, loved to be with his friends, loved sports, and he was happiest in the woods,” Avery’s first grade teacher Francie Daniel told WIS.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hunting accident: 6-year-old boy shot and killed, authorities say