57-year-old McDonald's employee killed while taking out trash - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

57-year-old McDonald's employee killed while taking out trash

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Willie Jennings Willie Jennings
Angelo Tucker, one of the suspects Angelo Tucker, one of the suspects
Batesburg-Leesville police investigate the scene Batesburg-Leesville police investigate the scene
Batesburg-Leesville police investigate the scene Batesburg-Leesville police investigate the scene
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By Jody Barr - bio | email and Tim Pulliam - email

BATESBURG-LEESVILLE, SC (WIS) - A man was shot and killed while he was taking out the trash at a fast food restaurant Wednesday night.

Batesburg-Leesville Police Chief Wallace Oswald said officers got the call of shots fired at McDonald's at 11:43pm. Officers were a block and a half away and arrived quickly to find 57-year-old Willie Jennings in the parking lot with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. 

Police said Jennings, an employee of the McDonald's, was shot while he was taking out the trash. He was transported to the hospital where he later died.

While responding to the murder scene, a shift sergeant saw a vehicle on a side street turn its lights on and speed away. Oswald said officers pulled the car over and found the McDonald's manager's wife, 38-year-old Tasha Marie Matthews, driving with two passengers who matched witness descriptions from the scene, Angelo Pierce Tucker, 21 and Meon Mikel DeAnglius Miller, 18.

Matthews, Tucker and Miller, all of Columbia were taken into custody as persons of interest for questioning, but are not cooperating, according to Oswald. Oswald said a firearm has been recovered, but police still do not have a motive and no charges have been filed. 

The investigation has lasted for more than 24 hours as officers gather clues, spending several hours working to dig a bullet out of a brick wall and map out the scene. "I've never figured out why people from the outside think they can come to a small town and commit a crime when they're noticeable that they are not from this area," said Oswald.

It's hard for Jennings' sister, Bessie Mae Cannon, to contain her emotions. "Why they want to shoot him?" asked Cannon. "For what? What did you get out of it? Nothing!"

Jennings' family says he had only been working at McDonald's for a year. The shooting leaves Jennings' family with a lot of questions. They say the 51 year old loved antique cars and was a natural comedian. "He was a good man, a hard working man," said Jennings' niece, Jacqueline Cannon. "He was a family man, very devoted. We don't understand why all this happened, he was a good man."

A man whose family says didn't deserve this, gunned down while simply trying to make a living. "I will miss him forever," said Cannon. "Who would take his life? I just don't know. They better not let me know who took his life. I mean it. I mean it, I'm serious."

SLED agents and investigators with the Lexington County Sheriff's Department are assisting with the investigation. If you know anything about this incident, you are urged to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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