CHERAW, S.C. - One person was killed and another seriously injured in Cheraw, South Carolina Wednesday night while shooting off fireworks, according to police.
Officers said a 24-year-old man died when an artillery shell hit him in the chest.
Authorities told Channel 9 that M.C. Gallion III was with friends shooting off fireworks during Fourth of July celebrations at the Dizzy Gillespie Apartments.
We first updated WSOCTV news app users with a notification just before 8 a.m. Thursday that a man lost his life in this tragic accident.
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Investigators said the group was apparently holding mortar shell launch tubes in their hands and shooting them off. Police said one shell was likely put in backward and burst out the bottom of the tube, hitting Gallion in the chest.
Fourteen-year-old Marquis Pryam was watching from his front porch.
"They were just running around shooting at each other, running around. People were here, people were over there," he said.
Teddrick Gillespie and Stephon Harrington were both involved in that fireworks war. They told Channel 9 it's always been more fun than shooting fireworks from the ground.
"Every year we have a war. We stand out here, we shoot at each other, just having a good time," Harrington said.
Pryam was watching when Gallion was hit by the mortar shell.
"It didn't come out like it was supposed to. It just exploded right in his hands and he was trembling, and he just fell right there, like straight down,” Pryam said.
Police said Gallion took a few steps, then collapsed on the grass. A neighbor tried to do CPR, but Gallion died a short time later.
Cheraw police told Channel 9 they were called to that apartment complex three times Wednesday night.
Police said an hour before Gallion was killed, another person from the same group lost part of his hand and was taken to Charleston for surgery.
It appears he also loaded a mortar shell backward and was playing the same game, which continued even after he was injured.
Friends of the victim said they plan to stop the fireworks wars.
"Just to see that happen, my condolences go out to his family, because that could've been me. It could've been anyone,” Gillespie said.
Gallion leaves behind a daughter.
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