Person of interest in one O'burg murder in custody, two still loose

Harold Randall McDaniels
Harold Randall McDaniels

ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) - Orangeburg County deputies are trying to calm nerves of the people who live there. They say out of three weekend murders, they have their eyes on the three different suspects and are close to cracking the cases.

Authorities say the suspect in an Orangeburg robbery and a person of interest in a stabbing murder surrendered peacefully on Monday after a three-hour standoff at a Georgia motel.

Mike Ayers of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said 40-year-old Harold Randall McDaniels of Orangeburg was arrested on Monday. Orangeburg County deputies think McDaniels may have been involved with the stabbing death of 47-year-old William Black inside Black's Orangeburg home.

The standoff began around 11:30am Monday when deputies tried to serve a warrant on McDaniels at the motel in Thomson. Ayers says a SWAT team negotiator with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office talked McDaniels into coming out of the motel.

About 25 to 30 law enforcement officers from McDuffie and Richmond counties had gathered at the scene. A handful of customers were evacuated from the motel and a nearby Arby's restaurant.

The question now is how one department can handle so much crime in so little time. Deputies have called in the State Law Enforcement Division to help with the investigations.

Former missionary Charles Bennett decided to call Orangeburg home 30 years ago because of the balance between a town, a city and the churches. "It's a good community," Bennett said. "Like all communities it's got its problems, but I really enjoy living here in Orangeburg."

It's those problems that everyone is talking about this week. "Whoever is paying havoc in this county -- robbing, killing -- we're coming after you," said interim Sheriff Barbara Walters.

This comes after a weekend of violence in which a man was stabbed in his home and two people were shot to death -- one outside a Bowman club the sheriff says is a hotbed for crime.
The sheriff says they called for backup. "It was hard to believe all this was coming down so rapidly," said Walters. "It wasn't out of fear, it was out of need for man power."

Reggie Lloyd heads up the State Law Enforcement Division, and stood with a handful of agents on Tuesday to say they're here to help. "It signals to us we need to have a presence here, we need to step up efforts in this county so people don't think this is going to be tolerated," said Lloyd.

The plan to cut down on crime tape is to "increase presence here," said Lloyd. "Good guys are gonna see it, bad guys are gonna feel it."

Bennett says he's got faith the streets he walks will be cleaned up, and says he's staying for the long haul. "Yes, I plan to," he laughed. "I may take my trips, but yes, I like Orangeburg."

Walters says after this weekend there have been nine murders this year. She says she remembers a year when there were 23 in the county.