Tuesday , May 29, 2012 - 4:37 PM
NEPHI-- Cameron Bryce Charlton idolized his brother, a U.S. Marine who served in Iraq and was a role model at 10 years older.
All that changed during a Memorial Day camping trip when authorities say his brother Eric Charlton appears to have accidentally shot and killed the younger boy while drinking around a campfire near Yuba Reservoir.
Eric Charlton, 27, was booked and released Monday at Juab County jail on $5,000 bond. He was held on suspicion of manslaughter, charged with negligently -- but not deliberately -- killing his 17-year-old brother.
Juab County Attorney Jared Eldridge said he would consult detectives Tuesday to determine what charges, if any, will be brought in court.
Eric is "absolutely distraught over what happened," the boys' grandfather, Stan Charlton, told The Salt Lake Tribune. "They loved each other. Cameron idolized Eric, and Eric thought the world of Cameron."
Juab County Sheriff Alden Orme said a night of drinking and the gun made for a "recipe for disaster."
"You have a whole family that is traumatized by this," Orme told KSL.
Eric Charlton told deputies that he had been demonstrating gun techniques and talking about trust with his younger brother and another friend during the campout with about 20 other people. He said he thought the .45-caliber handgun was empty when he swung it, it discharged, and a shot hit Cameron Charlton in the temple.
The friend who witnessed the shooting said the older brother screamed for help, then tried to stop the bleeding and attempted CPR on the boy.
Someone in the group yelled "no, no, no -- stop, stop, stop," Jose Calvillo, who was camping nearby, told KTVX of Salt Lake City. "That's when I thought something was really going on."
A gunshot woke Thomas Western from a deep slumber in a nearby tent.
"I started hearing crying, and yelling and a lot of commotion," Western told KSL. "It's shocking, unexpected."
Medics pronounced Cameron Charlton dead at the scene, Juab County sheriff's Lt. Bret Pulver said.
Eric Charlton was "upset, very distraught," Orme said. "It's very heartbreaking at this point."
Cameron Charlton, of Hooper, hoped to follow his older brother into the Marines, his grandfather said. His older brother was given a medical discharge for an ankle injury, he said. The brothers enjoyed hunting and fishing together.
The shooting is "a tragic thing, and it shouldn't have happened," Stan Charlton said.
Eric Charlton, of West Haven, has no criminal record, but court records show he paid a number of fines or forfeited bail for a series of traffic infractions from 2002-2007 for speeding, driving on suspended or revoked licenses and having an expired registration.
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