Police: 54-year-old fatally shot while trying to break up fight - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Police: 54-year-old fatally shot while trying to break up fight

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Patricia Singleton (Source: Sumter Police Department) Patricia Singleton (Source: Sumter Police Department)
Derek Darby (Source: Sumter Police Department) Derek Darby (Source: Sumter Police Department)
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SUMTER, SC (WIS) -

Sumter Police say a 54-year-old woman trying to break up a fight in front of her home on Council Street was fatally shot.

Investigators say it was a long-running feud between two teen girls that came to blows Wednesday night, but police say the girls' families had plenty of opportunities to step in and stop the shooting.

What happened is that Latoya Anthony's aunt, Patricia Singleton, was gunned down right in front of her.

"My aunt told them there ain't going to be no drama in her yard," said Anthony.

Anthony was standing near Singleton in front of Singleton's home, watching as the fistfight continued to escalate.

Surrounding the girls, witnesses and police say, 15 or more spectators, including adults and even family members, who were egging on the combatants.

"She innocently comes outside, I would say doing the right thing as a parent and a good neighbor, and attempting to say, 'Hey, break it up,' and unfortunately, she ends up being on the short end," said Deputy Police Chief Alvin Holston.

Holston says someone in the crowd actually called a brief time out at one point to set ground rules for the battle before allowing it to resume. He says that's when 18-year-old Derek Antwan Darby pulled out a gun and fired a single shot that hit Singleton in the chest. She later died at Tuomey Regional Medical Center.

Anthony says Darby was not aiming at Singleton and believes the bullet might have bounced off something.

Police arrested Darby six hours later at a Sumter motel. He's charged with murder. The murder, as it turns out, of a woman who was one of the suspect's own family members -- his cousin.

Sometimes, the a good thing to do is to walk away," said Holston. "The one way you resolve certain situations is with a cooling off period, and in this case I certainly want to say the parents who were involved did not do the right thing."

Police are continuing to investigate and piece together what exactly happened in this case.

If you have any information about this case, you are asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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