Man killed in Lewis Street shooting | Crime | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | April 20, 2016 5:00 pm
Last Updated: April 20, 2016 at 12:54 pm
By GEORGE SALSBERRY
Walterboro police detectives are continuing to work the investigation into an early Monday morning shooting that claimed the life of Ramone Latrell Varner, 23, of Walterboro.
Officer Amye Stivender, the public information officer for the Walterboro Police Department, said investigators have interviewed people about the shooting death inside a Lewis Street home and have collected evidence that they will send to South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s labs in Columbia for analysis.
Among those pieces of evidence to be evaluated are several spent shotgun shells and a black handgun found on the floor inside the Lewis Street home.
Colleton County Coroner Richard Harvey reported that an autopsy conducted Tuesday at MUSC’s forensic facility determined that Varner had sustained multiple shotgun wounds to the torso and lower extremities.
Harvey was called to Varner’s Lewis Street home shortly before 1 a.m. and pronounced him dead at the scene. Colleton County Fire-Rescue paramedics arrived at the home Monday at about 12:30 p.m. to find Varner on the floor inside the house, showing no signs of life, and called the coroner.
Walterboro Police Department personnel were called to an initial report of a home invasion.
According to the incident report, officers met with Varner’s 22-year-old girl friend, who told them that the couple had been asleep in their bed when they heard loud knocking on their door, followed by the door being shot several times. Finally, an unknown suspect kicked the door in.
She ran to hide in a bedroom closet and listened as what she said sounded like several suspects entered the residence.
She listened as Varner reportedly said, “Y’all got it” quickly followed by “I have a gun.”
Gunfire, she said, was exchanged between her boyfriend and the suspects. She said she heard one of the suspects yell that he was hit, and they ran from the residence.
Based her statement that one of the attackers had apparently been shot, law enforcement officers immediately began contacting hospitals and medical centers throughout the Lowcountry, searching for a report of a gunshot victim arriving at their emergency rooms.
Shortly before 4 a.m., a public safety officer from the Medical University of South Carolina facilities in Charleston called back.
He reported that a man with a gunshot wound had arrived at MUSC’s emergency room Sunday at about 1:45 p.m. and provided local officers with the man’s name.
He also reportedly told investigators that the gunshot victim had said he had been shot in Walterboro.
Stivender said the investigators have identified several persons of interest in the homicide investigation, but could not say if the gunshot victim treated in Charleston had been interviewed.
Among the things that investigators are attempting to determine is if the Lewis Street killing has any potential correlation to any of the three gunfire incidents from over the weekend that they are investigating.
• At approximately 7:13 p.m. on Saturday, officers were called to the 300 block of Lockhart Street by a report of shots being fired in the area.
Officers were advised prior to their arrival that several black males were seen fleeing the area on foot, headed towards Proctor Street.
Once officers arrived on scene, they made contact with a 22-year-old Walterboro man who they had found limping away from the scene.
He told them that he had been standing in the yard at 300 Lockhart Street when several unknown males began shooting into the crowd.
The victim stated as he was fleeing, he was struck in the left foot by a bullet.
He was transported to Colleton Medical Center and treated for his injured foot.
Officers searching the area reportedly found eight spend shell casings in the yard, and another 12 spent shells in the road near the intersection of Lockhart and Campbell streets.
• On Saturday at approximately 5:30 p.m., city police officers were called to police headquarters to meet with a woman who told them her vehicle was struck by gunfire while she was at Lincoln Apartments at 404 Witsell Street.
The complainant stated she was not inside the vehicle at the time of the incident and was unsure of any additional information.
On Friday April 15 at approximately 12:30 a.m., a shots-fired call sent Walterboro Police Department officers to the 500 block of Sweat Street.
Upon arrival, officers met with the victim, a 57-year-old Walterboro woman, who said she had been watching television she heard the sound of gunfire outside her residence and dropped to the floor.
Officers on scene found 25 spent .40 caliber shells in the home’s driveway.
Twenty-one of those bullets hit the residence. Officers went inside the home and collected bullets and shrapnel from several rooms.
The woman said that she lives in the residence with her son, who was not home when the shots rang out. She told officers that she did not know anyone who may want to harm her.