Charges placed in shooting

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, April 13, 2021

A local teen has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless handling of a firearm after a March 30 shooting.

Austin McMillian, 18, died in the shooting, which was reported about 11 p.m. on March 30. The shooting happened in the 900 block of John Rolfe Drive, but the teens then drove the victim to the Smithfield Police Department building on South Church Street. He was transported to the hospital but passed away from his injuries.

Charles Wills, 18, has been charged with the shooting.

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Smithfield Police Department Lt. Patrick Araojo said the four friends, all from the area, were riding in the same car when the gun, a .40 caliber pistol, went off.

Araojo said it is still an active investigation, and all options are being explored, but that the possibility of an accidental shooting is being explored heavily.

“At this point, that’s the direction we’re looking at,” he said. He added that more charges were possible.

McMillian and Wills both are students at Smithfield High School, Isle of Wight County Schools spokeswoman Lynn Briggs confirmed.

“We had additional counseling support at Smithfield High School on Wednesday and Thursday,” Briggs said last week in reference to the week before spring break. No students were in school that Friday.

Support was available in person or virtually. Additional support was also provided at Smithfield Middle School and Westside Elementary School, where McMillian’s siblings are in school, Briggs said.

James Pike had McMillian in his welding class this semester.

“He will be sadly missed,” Pike said. “It’s a tragic loss for all of us.”

Pike added that McMillian was a good student and team player.

“He was just really opening up and becoming a lot more comfortable after completing Welding I and II,” Pike said. Austin worked really hard to complete his certification. He could really do anything he put his mind to.”