Warrants allege Hartsville man charged in boy's shooting death was impaired while handling loaded gun

Warrants allege Hartsville man charged in boy's shooting death was impaired while handling loaded gun
Rodney Pittman Jr. (Source: W. Glenn Campbell Detention Center)
Rodney Pittman Jr. (Source: W. Glenn Campbell Detention Center)

HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) – A 5-year-old boy was killed in an early-morning shooting Friday in Hartsville, according to Lt. Robby Kilgo with the Darlington County Sheriff's Office. Warrants obtained Monday allege that the man charged in connection with this shooting was impaired while trying to retrieve the loaded gun, causing it to discharge.

The boy was taken to the hospital in critical condition after the shooting, but he later died from his injuries.

Coroner Todd Hardee has ruled the death a homicide. The boy's name will not be released.

Rodney Thomas Pittman Jr., 29, of Hartsville has been arrested in connection with the shooting, according to Lt. Kilgo.

Public records indicate Pittman has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, for which bond was set at $15,000. He has also been charged with possession of a weapon by a convicted violent felon, for which bond was set at $10,000.

The shooting happened at a residence in the North Hartsville area of Darlington County on Folly Road.

Agents with the Darlington County Sheriff's Office and the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division both processed the scene around 3 a.m. Friday.

DCSO investigators said Pittman lived at the house with the 5-year-old boy and his mother. Law enforcement quickly took Pittman into custody, as he was outside of the residence at the time when he was detained.

Arrest warrants for Pittman allege that he showed a "reckless disregard for the safety of others" by attempting to retrieve the loaded gun from the kitchen area of residence while impaired. "As a result of his effort to retrieve the firearm, the weapon discharged within the residence causing great bodily harm (death)" to the victim, the warrant states. The warrant also states that Pittman admitted to discharging the gun.

A warrant for violation of probation was also served to Pittman, according to Pete O'Boyle with the South Carolina Department of Pardon and Parole.

Pittman was in the middle of serving a 3 year probation for the charge of Pointing and Presenting a Firearm at a person. That charge came after incident in April of 2015.

Kilgo said the first 911 call came from Carolina Pines Hospital in Hartsville. Staff told DCSO investigators that the mother brought the child in after he was shot.

"It's a very difficult investigation, but that's why we have this special victims unit to do these kind of difficult ones," Kilgo said. "They know how to work these cases and this is what they are here to do. This is very much different than any type of investigation. You're dealing with an individual who lived in a residence with a child and now that child has been injured in a shooting."

Neighbors on each side of the house said they didn't know them and that they kept to themselves, but did notice the boy playing in the backyard at times.

This investigation will take time and additional charges are expected. Kilgo said the investigators are working the case, along with SLED.

"Right now we will concern ourselves with interviewing witnesses and people who may have been present for this action and go from there and determine what charges are necessary," said Kilgo.

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