Sheriff: Robbers shot at citizens from trunk of getaway car - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Sheriff: Robbers shot at citizens from trunk of getaway car

Jeffrey Martin Tranchida (Source: Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office) Jeffrey Martin Tranchida (Source: Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office)
Sean Phillip Smith (Source: Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office) Sean Phillip Smith (Source: Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office)
The suspect's car behind a fence at the OCSO impound lot. The suspect's car behind a fence at the OCSO impound lot.

By Jody Barr - email

ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) - Two people who witnessed a pharmacy holdup Monday in Orangeburg were shot at after deciding to chase down the suspects.

Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said Jeffrey Martin Tranchida, 30, and Sean Phillip Smith, 28, both of Charleston are accused of holding up the Giant Discount Pharmacy and shooting at two people who followed them.

Ravenell said the suspects showed employees of the grocery store pharmacy a weapon and demanded prescription drugs before getting into a blue Toyota and driving away.

The plan almost worked, until the suspects ran into Marty Wilson. "We need to stand firm and do what's right instead of just turning our heads when things happen," said Wilson, who jumped into a pickup truck with the store's assistant manager and sped off after the robbers.

"He started speeding up, and the chase was on," said Wilson. "We went to Norway and then cut a bunch of blocks. I was talking on the 911 phone call and telling them every street that they had taken."

Wilson says the chase lasted for several miles before the suspect in the trunk opened fire. "He shot at us twice, but we backed off at a good distance that we knew that we wouldn't be in harm's way," said Wilson. "Then we just stayed far enough so that we could see the car so I could keep talking to 911 and tell them exactly where they was."

Minutes later, the robbers ran right into deputies' roadblock. "Without the citizens' assistance and the officers being in the area, this dangerous pair may have fled the area and not been caught," added the sheriff.

Tranchida and Smith have been charged with armed robbery, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, theft of a controlled substance and two counts of assault and battery first degree. A judge denied bond on Tuesday for the two men, who are being held at the Orangeburg County Detention Center.

Copyright 2011 WIS. All rights reserved.

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