Boy Dies on Vacation in SC in 'Senseless, Senseless Act'

Quarius Naqua Dunham of NH was fatally shot by man who allegedly was firing randomly at cars
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2022 10:25 AM CDT
Cops: Man Randomly Shooting at Cars in SC Kills Boy, 8
Charles Montgomery Allen.   (Florence County Detention Center via AP)

A family vacation in South Carolina turned tragic after an 8-year-old boy was fatally shot by a man who was randomly firing at cars, according to local police. NBC News reports on the incident near Florence, where third-grader Quarius Naqua Dunham of New Hampshire was driving with his family around 2pm Saturday when bullets flew into their vehicle, per the Florence County Sheriff's Office. Quarius, who was sitting in the passenger seat, was hit in the neck, the county coroner's office tells NBC Boston. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, but after a series of brain scans, he was pronounced dead on Monday. Quarius' dad, who was driving the car, was shot in the thigh, but he's expected to survive.

Another driver whose vehicle was hit says he narrowly escaped being shot himself. "I noticed the gentleman was taking aim and I said, 'He's going to shoot again,' so I ducked and stepped on the accelerator to get past him and he shot again," Calvin Cade tells the AP. Authorities say Charles Montgomery Allen, 40, was arrested in the woods outside his residence and was detained after a short standoff. Police say Allen started shooting up the walls of his own home after thinking people were "out to get him," then moved on to shooting at cars. As for more on a motive, Sheriff TJ Joye doesn't have further answers. "No motive. Just probably methed up," Joye tells WBTW. "He's got a history. ... Just a senseless, senseless act."

Police say Allen, who allegedly shot at a total of three vehicles, was arrested and charged with murder, attempted murder, and discharging a firearm into a vehicle, among other charges. The town of Portsmouth, NH, where Quarius and his family were from, is now grieving. "You go on vacation to make memories that last a lifetime with your kids, and for this tragedy to befall this family, I was just sick to my stomach," Mayor Deaglan McEachern says, per NBC Boston. Allen is being held without bail at the Florence County Detention Center. An investigation is ongoing, with the possibility of additional charges, per authorities. (More South Carolina stories.)

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