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Resident interrupts burglary, shots fired

web posted July 7, 2009
TRENTON – A late night burglary on Billy Road off Highway 19 near the Aiken and Edgefield County line ended in gunfire and the suspect fleeing the residence armed with a stolen .38 caliber handgun around midnight Monday. Edgefield County Sheriff Adell Dobey, Sheriff’s Deputies, Johnston and Edgefield Police, and Aiken County Sheriff’s Deputies were alerted to the burglary and responded to the area.

According to Sheriff’s Investigator Phil Ireland, the homeowner walked in on the suspect during the burglary and the confrontation ended with shots being fired at the suspect inside the home.

Police quickly set up a perimeter in the area of Billy Road, Courtney Road, Paces Creek, Windy Ridge Road and Highway 19 and were able to obtain the name of a possible suspect in the case. Sheriff’s Investigator Phil Ireland said it is possible additional firearms were stolen in the burglary.

Area hospitals were placed on alert for a possible shooting victim in case someone arrived for treatment. However, Sheriff’s Investigator Phil Ireland said he could not confirm that the suspect was hit by the shots fired by the victim nor how many shots were fired. The Sheriff’s Forensic Investigator Curtis Morris was processing the scene and details were sketchy at best, but it was possible blood found at the scene may have been from breaking into the home and not from a gunshot wound.

The suspect was described only as a 31-year-old black male possibly wearing a white tee shirt and blue jeans believed to be from the Barnwell area.

Early in the investigation it was believed the suspect was able to make it to a home on Courtney Road and escaped in a blue car. The car was later located and the driver, said to be the suspect’s girlfriend, fled the area with her children to a neighbors house. The girlfriend’s home appeared to have been ransacked. 

As more information on the suspect became available, it was learned he was a known gang member and is known for resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer, and failure to stop for blue lights. Deputies were warned that the suspect is armed and extreme caution should be used in approaching the suspect.

During the manhunt, a nearby store at the intersection of Highway 19 and 191 was reported burglarized, but no further details were available. Aiken County Deputies were working that crime scene. It is unknown of the two crimes were related.

The Sheriff’s Bloodhound Team arrived at 2 am to begin tracking the suspect, believed to be still in the area. By 2:36 am the team was tracking the suspect from the area towards Highway 19.

A later report indicated the suspect had a current felony warrant for his arrest for assaulting a police officer and a helicopter from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) was then called to assist in the search. Inv. Ireland said that despite knowing the suspect’s identity, they were not prepared to release the name at this time.

By 3 am the Bloodhound Team reported being on a “hot trail” in the general area and they were finding footprints along the way. They were reminded the suspect is a wanted felon and was considered to be armed and dangerous. Additional information obtained by Investigators confirmed that the suspect very well might be in the general area.

SLED arrived on the scene at 3:40 am to join the investigation.

The manhunt was still underway at press time and more information will be made available as it is obtained.

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