A man and his 9-year-old daughter were gunned down in South Carolina by a fellow hunter who mistook them for deer, authorities said Friday.
The victims, Kim Drawdy, 30, and Lauren Drawdy, 9, were in a hunting party of four as they were working to get their prey into firing range at about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Suddenly, deadly gunfire rang out at the scene in Walterboro, about 50 miles west of Charleston, officials said.
"Four hunters were attempting to move deer, also known as driving deer," the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said in a statement, "when two hunters were shot after being mistaken for a deer. Those two hunters succumbed to their injuries."
The state Department of Natural Resources is investigating the killings.
A family member of the victims expressed shock at the fatal shooting.
“I was devastated," Benny Drawdy, the brother of Kim Drawdy, told NBC affiliate WIS-TV in Columbia. "I couldn’t believe it when I first got the news. I said, 'It couldn’t be.' It broke my heart and I couldn’t believe it."
They were shot by one of their two fellow hunters, Colleton County Coroner Richard Harvey told NBC News on Friday.
It wasn't immediately clear if the victims were wearing blaze-orange clothing, which can help hunters differentiate themselves from their prey, officials said.
This accident happened on private property where the wearing of such protective clothing is recommended but not mandated, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
South Carolina has a myriad of deer-hunting seasons depending on the region and whether it's on private or public land. Wednesday would have been the final day of the season for this piece of private property where Kim and Lauren Drawdy were killed, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
“Shocked, just shocked,” family friend Shirley Williams told WIS-TV.
"It should have never happened, should have never happened. How some simple hunting trip can turn into a tragedy is beyond me. I don’t know how it could possibly happen.”