The soldier who was fatally shot Saturday night in Long County, like the soldier charged in connection with the incident, was a cavalry scout in the 3rd Infantry Division, according to a Fort Stewart news release issued Tuesday morning.
Spc. Hunter Jack Kelly, 20, died of a gunshot wound after a fellow soldier handled a weapon that discharged and struck him in the head, Long County Sheriff Craig Nobles said.
Kelly was pronounced dead at the scene, the sheriff said.
Spc. Peter Anthony Petri, 25, of Ludowici, is being held without bond in the Liberty County Jail on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct.
Nobles said during an interview Monday afternoon that about eight or nine people were at a home during a gathering of soldiers on Virginia Lane Northeast in unincorporated Long County when Kelly was shot around 11 p.m. Saturday. Until then, it apparently had been a quiet party because the sheriff’s office had not received any noise or rowdiness complaints about the home, Nobles said.
The sheriff said another man at the gathering was arrested and charged with obstruction of law enforcement because he did not comply with deputies’ instructions. That man, identified in a sheriff’s office incident report as Ryan Thomas Brown, 22, of Fort Stewart, has since been released.
Kelly listed Sparks, Nevada, as his home of record, according to the Fort Stewart release. He entered active duty in August 2013. He had received the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terror Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon. He had no deployments, according to the post.
When asked whether investigators believe the shooting was a case of things taking an unfortunate, tragic turn during a party, Nobles emphasized the nature of the charges. He said he can’t elaborate while the investigation is ongoing.
According to an incident report filed by Long County Sheriff’s Office Detective Thomas Sollosi, when deputies from Liberty and Long counties arrived at the home based on a report of shots being fired, they discovered a man lying on the floor near the kitchen with a gunshot wound in his head.
Petri told Sollosi that he had been drinking and was handling a firearm when it discharged, striking Kelly.
“Petri remains innocent until proven guilty in a court of law; however, the alleged actions are not in line with our Army’s values,” the Fort Stewart news release says.
Petri entered active duty in February 2012. He deployed to Afghanistan that year, according to the release.
Military officials are cooperating with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Long County Sheriff’s Office, according to the release.
“The thoughts and prayers of the 3rd ID and Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield are with the families and friends affected by this incident,” the release says. “Installation support services, including counselors and chaplains, have been provided to the unit.”