Boy Killed While Trick-or-Treating
By MEG KINNARD,
SUMTER, S.C. (Nov. 1) - A 12-year-old boy was shot to death while trick-or-treating with his family, struck with 30 rounds, shocking residents of a South Carolina neighborhood where most people know each other well.
A man in police custody confessed to the shooting, saying he emptied an AK-47 through his front door when he saw people with masks approaching, the Sumter Police Department said.
"I just hate it that that little kid got killed. It used to be the quietest place. I knew everybody and everybody knew me," Vivian Johnson, 81, said Saturday.
She has lived for decades two doors from the house where the boy was killed and his father and brother injured Friday night, but she said she does not know the people who live there now.
Police offered no motive and said it did not appear the family knew the people in the house, which is off a busy, two-lane road in Sumter, a city of about 40,000 people 45 miles east of Columbia. On Saturday, shattered glass still covered the front stoop and about 20 bullet holes peppered the front door and a front-window casement.
Quentin Patrick, 22, has been charged with murder and three counts of assault and battery with intent to kill. Police officers found AK-47 rounds had shot through the doors, walls and windows of the house, and they recovered that gun as well as a 9mm gun. He is a convicted felon who is not allowed to own firearms.
Police also arrested Ericka Patrice Pee, 19, who was in the house with her 2-year-old daughter. She tried to flee the home with Patrick and $7,500 in cash, police said. She is charged with obstructing justice.
More charges are expected against both suspects, police said.
"Most times you can find an explanation no matter how strange or twisted it is. Right now we have no explanation," said Mayor Joseph T. McElveen. "Sumter's certainly not a violent town but we're not isolated to having tragedies like this happen. It doesn't make it any better."
Police said the the boy, his parents and four children were returning from a city-sponsored event downtown where about 4,000 costumed children had celebrated Halloween when they stopped to collect candy at a home with a porch light on. The father, Freddie Grinnell, and three boys approached the house. The mother stayed in the car nearby with the toddler.
As the family waited, they thought they heard fireworks. Grinnell, T.J. Darrisaw, 12, and Ahmadre Darrisaw, 9, were hit by gunfire from inside the house. T.J., struck several times, died at a hospital, Coroner Verna Moore said. His father and brother were taken to a hospital, treated and released. The others were not hurt.
Sumter Police Chief Patty Patterson said there were other people inside during the shooting, but she didn't expect them to be charged.
There was no answer Saturday morning at the mobile home police listed as Patrick's address, although neighbor Larry Sigler said he thought Patrick's mother lived there.
Sigler said Patrick didn't seem like someone prone to violence.
A neighbor said he heard a loud noise about the time of the shooting and thought it was simply Halloween mischief.
"I thought, trick-or-treat night — pranks go down. Anything goes," said Lenwood Dixon, 49, who works at a hazardous waste and recycling company. "I heard a noise like maybe gunfire, then my daughter saw a bunch of lights flashing and saw some cops."
In his six years in the neighborhood, he said he wasn't aware of any violent crimes. He said a few trick-or-treaters had been on his block that night.
"I'm surprised. Since I was here, I'd never heard of anything like that happening. It's a quiet neighborhood," he said. "You don't see many children in the neighborhood. It's more elderly."
County Councilman Charles Edens said he lives just a few blocks away from where the shooting happened and passed the flashing lights of police cars on his way back from trick-or-treating with his 13-year-old daughter, who was upset at the news.
"It's going to put a dampening on Halloween," Eden said. "I would think twice about going to a door that we don't know who lives behind."