An 8-year-old Portsmouth boy was shot Saturday and died Monday while spending the Memorial Day holiday weekend with his family in South Carolina.

Charles Allen Montgomery, 40, was randomly shooting at passing cars on Old River Road in Pamplico, South Carolina, from the woods, when he struck the boy who was with his father, Florence County Sheriff T.J. Joye told A sheriff's deputy took the boy to a hospital where he had surgery on Saturday night.

Two other people including the boy's father were struck by Montgomery, Joye told WBTW TV. A SWAT team found him inside his nearby home with other weapons.

Joye told WBTW TV that Allen was likely on drugs and has a "history."

Counselors Available at School

Portsmouth School Superintendent Steve Zadravec informed the district of the boy's death in a message on Monday. He confirmed the boy's name Tuesday afternoon for Seacoast Current as Quarius Dunham.

"An event like this touches our community as a whole. Our hearts are with the family as we support each other through this unbelievable tragedy," Zadravec wrote.

Dondero School principal Kate Callahan sent a message titled "there are no words" to the school community on Monday about the third grader's death after Little Harbour School principal Erin Lawson sent a message. The boy passed away Monday evening, according to Callahan's message.

"This young man played recreation soccer, basketball, and baseball, so (he) may know some of our students," Callahan said.

The superintendent said there will be increased counseling support at LHS starting Tuesday and counselors across the district are prepared to support any student or staff member who may need assistance during this difficult time.

Zadravec also suggested the website The Child Mind Institute as a resource for parents to talk to their children.

"Tonight, hold this family, the staff, and students of Little Harbour in your prayers. Hug your own children tight," Callahan wrote.

Portsmouth Mayor Deaglan McEachern said there are no words to express the shock and sadness of the news.

"Just last week we gathered in a vigil to remember the 19 children whose lives were cut short in Texas. We tried to imagine how those parents felt, how we would feel. Now that darkness has crept into Portsmouth and taken the life of one of one of our own," McEachern told Seacoast Current. "Portsmouth stands with the family, friends and classmates in grief at this dark hour. Counseling is available through the schools. If you have trouble accessing assistance, please reach out directly to me."

Montgomery is being held without bail at the Florence County Detention Center. He faces two charges of attempted murder and three counts of weapons/discharging a firearm into a vehicle while occupied and weapons/possession of a weapon during violent crime.

The Portsmouth Herald was first to report the boy's death.

Charles Montgomery Allen
Charles Montgomery Allen (Florence County Detention Center)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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