HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A North Carolina man pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for the shooting death of a 17-year-old Conway girl.
Zackary Floyd was sentenced to three years probation and court costs after the five-year sentence was suspended by Judge Benjamin Culbertson.
Floyd was charged with involuntary manslaughter following the shooting death of Rachel Lewis at Myrtle Beach Mall in November.
An Horry County judge set bond for Zackary Dwayne Floyd, 20, from Fairmont, two days after the incident happened. Floyd and his lawyer both appeared in front of Judge Aaron Butler in December asking for a reasonable bond that the 20-year-old from Fairmont would be able to afford with a minimum wage job.
Floyd's mother is an investigator for Robeson County. The court ordered Floyd to stay with his family until the next court appearance.
"He's distraught beyond belief and I'm pretty sure that he's going to end up under some care," said James Dotson, Floyd's lawyer.
Lewis was shot in the head in the Bass Pro Shop parking lot just after 8 p.m. Saturday, November 29, according to Horry County Coroner Tamara Willard.
The family of Rachel Lewis shared photos of the young girl growing up. Her shooting is believed to be accidental, and her boyfriend is facing a manslaughter charge.
"Every ten minutes, he's just in tears and just all but in the fetal position on the floor," Dotson said.
Police were told by dispatch that Floyd called 911 and stated that he accidentally shot someone.
When officers arrived, Lewis was found lying on her back on the pavement with Floyd holding on to her, according to the report.
A witness told Horry County investigators Floyd was "playing with the gun and he dropped the clip from the gun and fired one shot toward the roof of the Tahoe," according to a police report.Floyd told police "that he thought the gun was empty when he dropped the clipped and was just playing with the gun, and when he pulled the trigger, he noticed the victim's head fall."
The owner of The Gun Store in Conway, David Floyd, who has no relation to Zackary Floyd, said these kinds of incidents reinforce the need for everyone to be aware of gun safety.
"Most accidental shootings that I've seen and unfortunately, I've seen a lot of them in different things I've done in life, it comes from a gun that someone either thought was unloaded or it was someone that was handling the gun improperly," Floyd said.
Always checking if a gun is loaded, pointing it away from people at all times and keeping your finger off the trigger until aiming to shoot at something specific are among the most important rules of gun ownership.
"I don't know that you'll ever hear about a gun that shot itself," Floyd said.
The police report said that Lewis and Floyd were boyfriend and girlfriend.