23-year-old James Blackwell, of Chadbourn, North Carolina was cleaning his high-powered rifle when he unintentionally discharged the weapon. The bullet traveled across the street and struck three people who were standing in the driveway, preparing to go on a trip to Myrtle Beach.
First the bullet hit 16-year-old Jahmesha McMillan, passing through her and continuing on into her cousin, 16-year-old Jasmine Thar. Bullet fragments also hit the girls' aunt, 42-year-old Treka McMillan. Jasmine was pronounced dead at the hospital. Jahmesha is listed in critical condition after undergoing surgery. Treka was treated for her injuries and released.
Police took Blackwell into custody but released him later in the day. He has not been charged, but police are continuing to investigate.
"At this point, it appears accidental, but we're investigating, not taking anything for granted," said the Chadbourn police chief. "No mater what, it's tragic, that's all I can say."