Man arrested for shooting nephew


A Cherokee County man was arrested after he shot his nephew in the chest.

On Jan. 15, Cherokee County Sheriff's Deputy Kaitlin Rafalko was dispatched to a residence in Hulbert on a report of shots fired. When she got to the house, Joseph Vanbuskirk came outside with his hands above his head.

"Due to no knowledge of where the gun was located at this time, I had my handgun drawn, as I instructed the male to come toward me while walking backward," Rafalko said in the sheriff's report.

She had the man detained and found five casings in his pocket when she patted him down.

Vanbuskirk was placed in the back of her patrol truck as she continued to investigate.

When she entered the home, she found Reil Vanbuskirk lying on the kitchen floor, covered in blood. Rafalko examined the victim for injuries and could see a single gunshot wound to his right shoulder.

"I applied pressure to the wound until EMS was on scene. Vanbuskirk was pale in color and was perspiring on his face and chest," said Rafalko.

The deputy began searching for the weapon and asked a woman inside the home if she knew where it was.

Joseph told Rafalko the gun was in the bathroom. There, she found a .38-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver on the ground near the bathroom sink.

The woman said she was in her bedroom during the altercation, but all she could hear was yelling.

She said she heard the gun go off and she wasn't sure how many gunshots there were.

"I asked her if she believed Joseph was defending himself and she said, 'No,' due to only yelling going on and no physical altercation between them," said Rafalko.

Joseph was taken to the Cherokee County Detention Center and charged with shooting with intent to kill, possession of a firearm after felony conviction, possessing a firearm in the commission of a felony, and for a warrant through the county.

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