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YUBA, Juab County — Police are investigating a Memorial Day shooting that left a teenager dead in a Yuba Lake State Park campground and his older brother in jail.
Cameron Bryce Charlton, 17, of Hooper, was killed after he was shot in the head early Monday, investigators said. The man's brother, Eric Wayne Charlton, 27, of Clinton, was booked into the Juab County Jail for investigation of manslaughter.
"You have a whole family that is traumatized by this," said Juab County Sheriff Alden Orme.
The brothers were camping near Yuba Reservoir with a group of about 20 or more people. Sometime after 3 a.m., the victim, his brother and a 16-year-old friend were still awake and outside their tents sitting around a campfire when the gun discharged, killing Cameron Charlton.
Investigators are treating the incident as a homicide, but said it was not immediately clear whether the shooting was intentional or accidental.
The gunshot startled Thomas Western, who was camping in a nearby tent.
"A loud gun, pop noise woke me up out of a dead sleep. I started hearing crying, and yelling and a lot of commotion," he said. "It's shocking, unexpected."
Orme said investigators don't believe the shooting was the result of any fight, but said a lot of alcohol was involved.
"It doesn’t appear to be an argument at this point, more of just visiting, a discussion," the sheriff said. "And then the gun was brought out and it discharged."
Orme said Eric Charlton, who is in the military, owned the gun and brought it camping for self-defense. It's unclear why the gun was displayed.
"Mix alcohol and firearms and you have a recipe for disaster," Orme said.
The bullet hit Cameron Charlton in the head. Medical personnel were sent to the area about 3:30 a.m. and pronounced the teen dead at the scene. His body was taken to the state medical examiner for an autopsy.
The sheriff said Eric Charlton was emotional when he was questioned about the shooting. "He's upset, very distraught. It's very heartbreaking at this point," Orme said.
Paul Burgess, who was camping in the same area, said the group had not caused any trouble for other campers.
"They were not rowdy. We didn't hear anything from them all weekend long," he said. "I think it's really sad that something like this would happen, especially in a family setting."
Contributing: Emiley Morgan