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Mistaken for intruder, man fatally shot by son / March 29, 2021
A Clays Mill man died Friday afternoon when he was shot by his 12-year-old son who believed an intruder was entering the home, said Halifax County Sheriff Fred Clark.

The incident happened around 5:15 p.m. at the family residence on Clays Mill School Road. The boy’s father, 31, died at the scene.

Clark declined to divulge the identity of the slain man pending notification of family members.

“It was just a terrible, sad situation all the way around,” said Clark.

The child, who also is unidentified, had heard something outside the home earlier in the afternoon that startled him as he was alone during the day. When his parents returned home later that Friday, “their times getting home where different than normal,” said the sheriff.

Worried that an intruder was trying to enter, the child grabbed a .22 caliber rifle and fired at the front door, hitting the father with a single shot in the hallway. The mother was unharmed.

“The mother started screaming and that’s when he [the 12-year-old] realized that something was wrong,” said Clark.

The rifle was a household firearm that the family kept in the three-person home. The call to 911 was made by the child himself, said Clark.

“He just didn’t realize it was his father,” he said.

After the call came into the 911 center, county deputies and Virginia State Police responded to the scene where they discovered the deceased man in the hallway of his residence.

Deputies and Halifax County rescue squad personnel attempted to provide first aid but to no avail.

Clark said his office would consult with the Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office to determine what charges would be appropriate in the matter. “There will be a decision on that going forward,” he said. In the meantime, the body has been taken to the state Medical Examiner’s Office in Roanoke for an autopsy, at the examiner’s request.

The investigation into the shooting is ongoing, Clark said.

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