South Carolina gun shop owner charged after 'prank' leaves friend dead

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BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Charges have been filed against a South Carolina gun shop owner who fatally shot a friend after mistaking a Glock 17 for a BB gun, according to police.

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Jon Whitley (Berkeley County Detention Center booking photo)

Jail records show Jon Whitley, who owns Coastal Firearm, was arrested Monday on a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Berkeley County deputies responded to the business on Nov. 2 and found Stefan Mrgan with a gunshot wound to the face.

Mrgan did not survive the shooting.

Whitley told deputies that he thought he was holding a replica BB gun when he tried to prank his friend and part-time employee by shooting him with it, according to an affidavit obtained by the Associated Press.

A witness said that the men were talking normally when he heard a loud bang and then saw Mrgan fall to the ground. The witness ran to Mrgan, secured Mrgan’s weapon, and began first aid until EMS arrived, according to the report.

Whitley was given a $15,000 bond.

Jerry Meehan, who is representing Mrgan’s widow, requested that Whitley not be allowed to possess a firearm as a condition of his bond, which the judge granted. Meehan said that the family is happy with the judge’s decision to grant that condition.

It is unclear how that bond condition will impact Whitley’s role as the owner of a gun shop.