17-year-old accidentally killed by friend handling gun, police say

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Rock Hill police said a teenager was accidentally shot and killed Saturday night when the gun his friend was handling accidentally went off.

Officers found Ja'Terreon Thorne, 17, just before 10 p.m. in the front yard of his house on Horseman Drive near Highway 5.

Officials said Robreece Pickett, 20, was handling a gun when it went off and struck Thorne.

Pickett ran from the scene but was found later by officials. Thorne’s family believed that Pickett was scared.

Officials initially investigated the shooting as a homicide but have now ruled it an accident.

They have charged Pickett with involuntary manslaughter and unlawful carry of a weapon. Officials set his bond at $115,000.

Thorne was the first of two teenagers killed by gunfire over the weekend in York County.

Statement from Rock Hill Schools:

“It has been an extremely sad 24 hours for Rock Hill Schools. In that time, two students have died in separate gun-related incidents.

E'Monnie Dixon, a 17-year-old student at Rock Hill High School, and Ja'Terreon Thorne, a 17-year-old student at Northwestern High School.

Our thoughts and prayers are with both families during this difficult time. With the school district on spring break this week, we will have counselors available for students when school resumes on April 11.”