17-year-old charged with shooting, killing 12-year-old sibling in Florence County

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 9:35 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2022 at 7:58 PM EDT
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FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - A 12-year-old has died after being shot in the Effingham community of Florence County, according to Sheriff TJ Joye.

The Florence County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were called around 8:45 p.m. Thursday to Hector Road where they found the child had been shot.

The 12-year-old was taken to the hospital, where the victim later died.

Joye said the victim was shot in the head with a .22 caliber rifle by the child’s 17-year-old brother, Antony Juarez-Simon.

Investigators arrested Juarez-Simon at the scene and charged him with involuntary manslaughter, point and presenting a firearm and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Authorities said the 17-year-old “acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others when he shot the victim.”

Patty Brown, who is a nearby resident of the community, said she saw the two siblings frequently in passing.

“Just seem like they were close and having a great time,” said Brown. I mean it was like that every time we seen them they were joking with each other and playing.”

She recalled the two brothers laughing together at the bus stop just hours before the tragic accident.

“It’s sad for the family,” said Brown. “And it being so close to home, we really feel bad for the parents knowing they’ve lost such a young child. But knowing that brother has to deal with that the rest of his life, really that’s hard to know that he has to deal with that.”

Major Mike Nunn of the Florence County Sheriff’s Office told WMBF News the burden is on the gun owner to make sure weapons are secured.

“We’re so heartbroken over continuing to read week after week where children have died or injured themselves or others by coming in contact with the unsecured weapon”

Nunn said guns should be secured whether in a safe, or gun vault and away from ammunition.

As kids are often curious, he added simply hiding them is not the best idea, which is why he recommends using gun cables if needed.

Nunn said kids also need to follow important steps if they come in contact with a gun:

  1. Stop
  2. Don’t Touch
  3. Leave The Area
  4. Tell An Adult

Juarez-Simon is being held at the Florence County Detention Center while he awaits a bond hearing.

The name of the 12-year-old has not been released yet.

Stay with WMBF News for updates.