ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said on Wednesday he has created a task force and hotline to help solve the shooting deaths of four people in Holly Hill three months ago.
The sheriff said investigators are following leads, but have not been able to identify specific suspects or make any arrests yet.
"I want to take personally to them today from this podium and let them know that time is running out," Ravenell said.
OCSO officials have said detectives have questioned numerous people in the case. A $2,500 reward was issued for clues that lead to an arrest.
The July 15 shooting on Old State Road took the lives of Jerome Butler, 50, Krystal Hutto, 28, Shamekia Sanders, 17, and Tamara-Alexia Perry, 14.
"Jerome was my brother in law and I just hate to see these kids man," Butler's brother-in-law Michael High said. "We're trying to find some closure about it and let life go on."
An 8-year-old was also hurt and had been listed in critical condition after suffering a gunshot wound.
Ravenell said during a news conference at the Orangeburg County Law Enforcement Complex that the case will be solved.
"This case is not standing still" Ravenell said "It's moving and it won't stop. We must and we will get justice."
The sheriff stood at the microphone flanked by several members of other law enforcement agencies who are helping with the case. The FBI, U.S. Marshal's Office, SLED and Holly Hill PD are all part of an Orangeburg County Sheriff's Department task force.
That collection of investigators is working tirelessly on finding the killers whom Ravenell described in detail despite utilizing a profile created by a SLED violent crime analyst.
"We believe that this crime was committed by two or more individuals," the Sheriff said. "At least one of these offenders was familiar with someone that lived at the residence. This was a planned event. This was not a random act of violence. At least one person knew the outcome would be murder."
Ravenell said the offenders are more likely not to be married. If they live with somebody, they are not accountable for their whereabouts, he said.
At least one of the killers had access to a vehicle. That vehicle, according to the Sheriff, was used to drive to the home and also as a getaway car in addition to the Mercedes that was stolen from the residence and later found burned in Vance.
Ravenell said because the Mercedes was found in Vance, it's likely one or more of the killers is familiar with that area. "[The vehicle] fire did not destroy all of the evidence," he said.
All of the offenders likely had a high school education or less, but "no doubt have a lot of street smarts," he said. Those responsible likely already have burglary, assault and battery and possibly more violent crimes on their records.
Ravenell said the father of the children who were killed, Christopher Wright, is not talking to investigators. "We're not wasting any more time talking to him." Wright was arrested shortly after the murders on drug charges.
If you know anything about these murders, your are urged to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office's special hotline at: 1-888-825-7172. Ravenell says any detail, no matter how small, is important to solving this case.