Berks DA: 'Horseplay' results in man fatally shooting friend

Suspect says he believed he was firing airsoft gun

MUHLENBERG TWP., Pa. - An afternoon of "horseplay" in Berks County resulted in tragedy for two friends, with one of them dead and the other facing up to 10 years in prison and a lifetime of remorse.

"It was an extremely tragic incident and just another example of the reckless use of a firearm," District Attorney John Adams said Monday.

It all went down Saturday afternoon at a home in the 4400 block of Kutztown Road, where the friends -- Daniel J. Smith and Daniel Brymer -- were helping another man move out of his first-floor apartment.

"During this afternoon of moving, both individuals -- Daniel Smith and Mr. Brymer -- were engaged in shooting themselves with airsoft guns," Adams said.

But a big mistake, according to the DA, led to Brymer accidentally killing his friend.

"The defendant, Daniel Brymer, thought that he was shooting the airsoft gun when, in fact, he shot a 9mm," Adams said.

"I shot him in the back," a crying Smith said to responding officers, according to court documents. "Why did he give me that gun?"

"He was screaming, crying, wailing," neighbor James Buckley told WFMZ's Jim Vasil. "He kept saying he didn't know why and he was sorry."

"Our investigation, to date," Adams said, "has indicated that it was Mr. Smith's gun, but he had provided the gun to Mr. Brymer for, I'm not certain of the reason, and he had also provided Mr. Brymer an airsoft gun also."

Smith, 31, was rushed to the trauma center at Reading Hospital, where he died a short time later from a single gunshot wound, police said.

Brymer, 21, of Newtown, Bucks County, was charged Sunday with aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter. He was freed on $100,000 bail.

Smith served as a constable in Bucks County and as a paramedic with the Plymouth Community Ambulance Association in Montgomery County.

"Mr. Smith was an outstanding full-time paramedic with Plymouth since 2016," said Thomas Trojansky, the association's chief of operations. "We ask that you keep Paramedic Smith, his family and the members of Plymouth Ambulance in your thoughts and prayers."

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