LADY’S ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal shooting at the Circle K gas station on Highway 21 on Lady’s Island.
It happened around 9 p.m. Monday. Witnesses tell deputies two or three vehicles pulled in to the gas station and then shots were fired between them. All vehicles fled the scene before deputies arrived.
A short time later, deputies were called to the Professional Village on Sunset Boulevard where occupants of one of the vehicles were located.
It was determined that two of the vehicle’s occupants were wounded during the exchange of gunfire at the Circle K. One of those occupants died and the other was taken to the hospital.
The victim has been identified as 20-year-old Clarence Mitchell III, of St. Helena Island. An autopsy is scheduled to be performed at the Medical University of South Carolina. The other man has since been released.
“Witnesses observed the occupants of these two vehicles firing at each other. Multiple gunshots. Multiple meaning in upwards of 30 and saw these two vehicles driving away," said Capt. Bob Bromage, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office. “Sheriff’s office investigators are still interviewing witnesses and are looking for information from the public; anyone who may have seen the occupants of the vehicles that were firing back and forth.”
Some of the bullets even hit a business next door.
“Today, we discovered there were bullet holes up here on the side,” said Coty Jester, Carolina Custom Parts. “We already had a deputy sheriff come over here and investigate it, and I don’t know. It’s kind of crazy.”
Jester says he moved to the area from Missouri and has never seen something like this before.
“People just need to get their life right, ya know, and straighten up,” he said. “People dying. There’s no need for all that.”
Bromage says the vast majority of the crimes in the area are younger people making bad decisions.
“We’re no different than any other area,” he said. “These young people carrying guns for whatever reasons feel necessary to shoot back and forth over something that’s probably trivial.”
He says they’re doing what they can to lessen crime in the area. People we spoke to who have lived there for years say they think it’s just getting worse.
Bobby Gecy says he was born and raised in the Lady’s Island area.
“In the past couple of years, it’s definitely gone up. More violence in the area. Definitely, crime rates have gone up,” Gecy said. “I’d say that breaking and entering have gone up. This is the first time I’ve heard of a shooting like this on Lady’s Island in a populated area, but I’d say breaking into cars has gone up, and it’s just too much.”
The incident is under investigation. Deputies say although the occupants of the other vehicles have not been located, they believe there is no public threat.
If you have any information, contact the sheriff’s office at 843.524.2777 or CrimeStoppers of the Lowcountry at 843.554.1111.