The State Law Enforcement Division has charged
30-year-old Justin Brueger of Bennettsville with unlawful conduct toward a child for the December 30 shooting death of 8-year-old Easton Brueger
. Police claim Justin was cleaning his rifle when it accidentally discharged, hitting Easton in the stomach. The boy later died of his injuries at a local hospital.
According to the State Police warrant, Justin placed his son at "unreasonable risk of harm" by pointing the weapon in the boy's direction while cleaning it.
"I want to say I'm very sorry to my son," a distraught Brueger told the court at his arraignment on Wednesday.
Judge Robert Stanton placed Brueger on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond and ordered all guns removed from his Fayetteville Avenue home. He was also ordered to stay away from Easton's mother and her family.
Easton was a third grader at Marlboro Academy and attended Trinity United Methodist Church in Clio. He liked playing with his cousins, riding four-wheelers, fishing, being outside, playing video games and playing with Legos and Nerf guns. He loved his pet dog Buddy, who he personally rescued.
Easton is at least the third child to be killed by accidental gunfire in recent weeks. On Christmas Day, 2-year-old Sincere Tymere Smith
, also of South Carolina, shot himself dead with his father's gun in the family's Conway home. On December 18, South Dakota teen Dalton Williams
was shot dead by friend Braiden McCahren during horseplay. And on December 15, 3-year-old Ryder Rozier
shot and killed himself with a gun he found in the home of his uncle, an Oklahoma state policeman.