17-year-old killed in accidental shooting

A Burton teenager became the area’s second gun-related fatality in a week when a stolen handgun he and his friends were playing with accidentally fired, killing him, according to authorities.

Rasheem Ray, 17, of Poppy Hill Road was pronounced dead of a single gunshot wound to the head at Beaufort Memorial Hospital on Sunday night.

Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office investigators say Ray and three friends, Dwayne Quincy Smalls, 17; Darryl Robert Kinloch, 17; and Donnell William Matthews, 17; were at Matthews’ home on Shanklin Road in Burton playing with a 9 mm handgun, when Kinloch accidentally pulled the trigger. The stray round struck Ray in the head, according to authorities.

The three friends then loaded Ray into Matthews’ car and drove him to Beaufort Memorial Hospital, where they crashed into the brick wall as they pulled into the ambulance bay, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Once Ray was on a stretcher, the three men panicked and left the scene but not before hospital staff got the number of the vehicle’s license plate, which they relayed to authorities.

After running a check on the vehicle’s license plate, deputies arrived at Matthews’ home on Shanklin Road to find a bloody scene and began interviewing witnesses, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Meanwhile, Matthews, Kinloch, and Smalls drove to Mossy Oaks Village Apartmentscq on Johnny Morrall Circle where they dumped the car and loaded into another car belonging to a family member, the Sheriff’s Office said. From there, they went to Matthews’ house to retrieve the handgun, which they had left behind. The three men were no longer at the house when deputies arrived, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Urged by concerned family members, Kinloch, Matthews and Smalls agreed to meet with investigators at the hospital, where they told authorities what happened in the moments before and after Ray’s death. They also surrendered the handgun which, after being run through a National Criminal Index Center database, was found to have been reported stolen in Sumter.

Investigators consider the shooting to be accidental, but the case is active, the Sheriff’s Office said.Family members told deputies the boys were close friends and there hadn’t been any recent confrontations among them.

The other gun-related fatality in the Beaufort area in the past week occurred Aug. 2, when Mario Morgan, a 22-year-old Navy Hospitalman stationed at Naval Hospital Beaufort, was shot outside the Masonic Lodge on Lady’s Island during an argument.

Melvin Holmes Jr., the 23-year-old St. Helena man suspected of killing Morgan, is being held at the Beaufort County Detention Center without bond. He has been charged with murder.