PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The man accused of shooting a Georgia tourist over the weekend is facing a new, more serious charge.
Panama City Beach police have now added attempted second-degree manslaughter to the list of charges against 20-year-old Damien Chhoeung.
Investigators said Chhoeung, his 19-year-old brother Elijah Chhoeung and 21-year-old Hunter Hatfield were standing on a 16th-floor balcony at a Front Beach Road condo Saturday afternoon when Damien Chhoeung allegedly pulled a gun out of his backpack and fired a shot toward the beach.
The shot hit an 18-year-old Georgia woman who was sitting on the beach behind the condo. Witnesses said the bullet went through her leg.
The 3-men left the scene, with Elijah Chhoeung tossing the gun in some woods off of Richard Jackson Boulevard, police said. After his arrest, authorities said Damien Chhoeung claimed he was trying to clean sand off the weapon and it accidentally fired. They say he also admitted to drinking prior to the shooting, and had marijuana in the backpack.
Elijah Chhoeung and Harfield were charged with tampering with evidence. Damien Chhoeung was initially charged with public discharge of a firearm and improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon. But beach police have now added the more serious attempted manslaughter charge.
He is being held without bond.