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SC: Hunter charged in shooting case

December 16, 2009

Hunter charged in shooting case

Bail was set at $75,000 Tuesday for a Johns Island man charged with assault and battery with intent to kill after a Citadel cadet was wounded while hunting Monday.

Danny Wade Rowsey, 48, of Staffwood Drive, told investigators he thought he was shooting at a deer, Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon said Tuesday.

Rowsey was charged after deputies investigated the shooting of Citadel cadet William Callegari, 21, of Houston, who was wounded twice by a high-powered rifle, Cannon said. Callegari was shot in the right armpit and from behind in the right shoulder. Both bullets exited his chest, Cannon said. Medical University Hospital officials would not release Callegari's condition at the request of the family. During Rowsey's bond hearing, a sheriff's deputy said Callegari was in intensive care.

Rowsey fired from a deer stand about 200 yards away across an open field. Callegari was duck hunting with two other Citadel cadets at a pond on the property near the intersection of McCants and Brigger Hill roads. Rowsey admitted to investigators that he shot Callegari once because he thought he was a deer, but denied shooting a second time. Sheriff's investigators said Rowsey was using a single-shot .308-caliber bolt-action rifle equipped with a scope.

Cannon said the "primary inconsistency" in Rowsey's story was the fact that Callegari was shot twice but Rowsey said he only fired once. Cannon also noted that the area where the shooting occurred did not have a view obstructed by trees and that Rowsey was using a scope that would have aided his vision. Cannon said there was no indication that Callegari and Rowsey knew each other. There was no altercation between Rowsey and the cadets prior to the shooting, Cannon said.

The Sheriff's Office received a 911 call at about 5:30 p.m. Monday regarding the shooting. Investigators interviewed Callegari at the emergency room.

Callegari is a junior majoring in history who was on Christmas break, said Charlene Gunnells, Citadel media relations coordinator. She said Cadets and staff members have been taking turns at Callegari's bedside.

During the bond hearing, Rowsey's attorney, Michael Coleman, described the shooting as an accident. "He admitted to firing one shot at what he thought was an animal," Coleman said.

Rowsey's wife and daughter were present at the hearing. Both said Rowsey feels horrible about what happened to Callegari and that the family is praying for his recovery. "I promise you, no one feels worse about this than Danny Rowsey," said Judith Rowsey, his wife.

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