William Brumby was trying to retreive a shell casing from inside his shirt when he unintentionally fired at his 14-year-old son, who was behind him. No charges have been filed against Brumby but Sarasota police are carrying on their investigation and scrutinising video footage of the shooting.
In a bizarre accident, the 64-year-old fired his gun at the High Noon Gun Range on Sunday 4 July when a spent shell casing ricocheted off a wall and landed inside the back of his shirt.
When he tried to retrieve the shell with his right hand, which held the gun, he tragically pulled the trigger, discharging the weapon at his son Stephen who was standing close by, according to a statement from the sheriff's office. The boy was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital shortly after 3pm but died of his injuries. The 14-year-old was shot in the neck, hitting his left jugular vein, according to NBC affiliate WFLA.
The sheriff's office called the shooting "accidental" and added that Brumby's 24-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter were also at the gun range at the time of the incident, but neither were injured.
"William Brumby was positioned in the last shooting lane where there was a solid wall on his right-hand side. After firing a round, the spent shell casing struck the wall causing it to deflect and fall into the back of Mr. Brumby's shirt. Brumby then used his right hand, which was holding the handgun, in an attempt to remove the casing. While doing so, he inadvertently pointed the firearm directly behind him and accidentally fired. The round struck his 14-year-old son, Stephen," the sheriff's deputies stated in a press release.
He was "the most gregarious, outgoing person, who never met a stranger," Stephen's 24-year-old brother, David, who witnessed the shooting, said in a Bradenton News report. "He was always into bow and arrows or throwing knives or he'd climb 50 feet up into a tree. He was just the quintessential boy, in the most old fashioned, beautiful sense of that word."
His brother concluded about the fatal tragedy: "You couldn't have done it again if you tried a thousand times."
The distraught father said: "The gun didn't kill my son, I did. It's something I'll have to live with for the rest of my life."