The last day of deer season in South Carolina ended in tragedy when a 9-year-old girl and her father were killed in a hunting accident on New Year’s Day.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported last week that Lauren Drawdy and her 30-year-old father Kim Drawdy were driving deer with two other hunters when one of them mistook the pair for deer and shot them.
The coroner’s report concluded that both victims died of “buckshot wounds to the torso,” according to Count On 2 News. Both victims died at the scene.
“When I got the message, I just couldn’t believe it,” Kim Drawdy’s brother, Benny Drawdy, told local station WCBD. “My heart stopped when they told me my brother and his daughter, you know, it’s terrible.”
The accident happened in the woods behind Kim’s house, where he had hunted many times before, according to WCBD.
“He was a real outdoorsman, he loved the outdoors like we all do, he loved to hunt and stuff,” Benny said.
The South Carolina DNR isn’t commenting on the incident until their investigation is complete.
“Our investigation into the circumstances of the accident is not complete, so we won’t have any additional comment or information available before then,” SCDNR spokesperson David Lucas told GunsAmerica.
Lauren Drawdy had just shot her first deer in October, and she had recently made the honor roll as a fourth-grade student at Cottageville Elementary School.
Lauren is described in her obituary as “a beautiful child with a kind and loving heart” who “truly loved spending time outdoors with her father hunting and fishing, and riding four wheelers and her dirt bike. She was so proud of harvesting her first deer in late October.”
Friends and family expressed shock and sadness at the sudden tragedy.
“Shocked, just shocked and sad. It shouldn’t have happened,” Shirley Williams, a friend of the family, also told WCSC. “How some simple hunting trip could turn into a tragedy is beyond me.”
The story sparked both outrage and sympathy on social media.
Former Skid Row singer Sebastian Bach took to Twitter to blast gun owners for “playing with your gun.”
Hunter Nation also reposted a report on the tragedy to send “hearts and prayers” to the family.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of Kim and Lauren Drawdy and their community in South Carolina. These two young hunters’ lives were lost in this tragic accident. https://t.co/Jpeg87xCIB— Hunter Nation (@HunterNation) January 4, 2020
With 11.5 million hunters in the United States, hunting accidents involving guns remain extremely rare. The International Hunter Education Association reports that fewer than 1,000 hunters are accidentally shot each year in the U.S. and Canada, and of those, there are about 75 fatalities.