Authorities say a South Carolina man has been charged with murder after he allegedly gave his 3-year-old son a loaded 9mm handgun and told him to chase another man — who was then killed when the child discharged the weapon, PEOPLE confirms.
Albert Davis, 31, also faces charges of possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, possession of a stolen handgun, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and unlawful conduct toward a minor, authorities say.
“Our defendant gave his 3-year-old son a weapon and had him chase the victim around a vehicle saying, ‘Get him, Get him, Get him,’ and at some point the weapon discharged,” Aiken County, South Carolina, Sheriff’s Office Capt. Eric Abdullah tells PEOPLE.
“At that age, he [the child] thinks it is a game,” Abdullah says.
He says 24-year-old Timothy Johnson was fatally shot in the chest as a result.
“In my 25 years in law enforcement, I have never encountered anything like this,” Abdullah says. “To me this is an extreme tragedy where both families have been greatly impacted, especially this young child. This recklessness of giving this young child a loaded firearm should not have happened.”
Abdullah says authorities were called to an acquaintance of Davis’ house on Beckham Road in Warrenville, South Carolina, around 3 p.m. on Tuesday and found Johnson lying on the ground.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“We don’t have a motive yet,” Abdullah says. “It is still an ongoing investigation.” The relationship between Davis and Johnson remains unclear.
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Abdullah says there were numerous witnesses in the front yard of the house when the shooting occurred. “All of their stories were corroborated,” he says.
Davis allegedly fled the scene and was picked up by police later that day at his home in nearby Graniteville, South Carolina, around 8 p.m.
He is being held without bond in the Aiken County Detention Center.
It is unclear if he has entered a plea to his charges, retained an attorney or when he is scheduled to appear in court.
He faces up to life in prison if convicted on the murder charge. The child abuse charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years.