DILLON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A 14-year-old boy was injured and his uncle was killed in a shooting in the Lake View community early Tuesday morning, according to authorities and the victims' family.
Police arrived at Shady Circle at about 1 a.m., and found one person lying outside the home, while the injured 14-year-old was located inside, according to Lake View Police Chief Wayne Campbell.
The gunshots reportedly went through the window of the home, striking the 14-year-old in the back.
The uncle, identified as Gerald McNeil, 40, passed away at the scene. His nephew was taken to McLeod hospital in Florence, according to Campbell and Dillon County Coroner Donnie Grimsley.
The deceased man's sister, Wanda McNeil, called her brother a hero in his death, saying he saved the rest of them.
"God forbid, if he wasn't here we wouldn't be here," she said. "I can honestly say my brother Gerald McNeil died a hero."
When the shooting happened, Wanda McNeil and her family were inside their home in Lake View when bullets came flying through the window. She is also the mother of the 14-year-old victim.
"We were asleep and all I heard was pow, pow, pow," Wanda McNeil said. "My uncle said, 'What's going on?' and then I heard my son saying, 'I've been shot, ow, I've been shot.'"
Sylvia McNeil, the victim's mother, was also inside the home at the time of the shooting. She walked outside to see her son already dead.
"He was laying right down there, bleeding," Sylvia McNeil said. "He died trying to protect us. "He's my child. That's what I'm going to miss most about him. And I loved him. I loved him."
The family said if it wasn't for McNeil going outside, everyone in their home could have been dead.
"At home, you should have peace and relaxation. You shouldn't have to worry about ... whether or not someone is going to try to enter your home and shoot you and this and that," said Wanda McNeil. "Nobody thinks of things like that."
The State Law Enforcement Division and the Dillon County Sheriff's Office were called to assist Lake View Police with the investigation.