SUMTER, S.C. (WIS) - Three people face murder charges in a deadly shooting of two men in Sumter.
The shooting happened around 1 a.m. on Sept. 18 on Cherryvale Drive.
Police say the victims were walking down the side of the road when a car pulled up and someone inside opened fire.
Two men died: 22-year-old Michael Sigler Jr. and 19-year-old Christopher Antonio Thompson.
While initially calling the crime gang-related, Sheriff Anthony Dennis said he does not think the shooting is tied to any other recent shootings in the county.
However, Dennis said that every homicide this year in the county has been gang or drug-related.
“It goes hand in hand, you see the drugs and you see the gangs so we are attacking the drugs and the guns as our aggressive law enforcement to deal with the gangs and violent crime,” Dennis said.
This crackdown is in response to a spike in the number of homicides in Sumter County. There have been five this year, nearly doubling in number from last year.
“It seems the values are not there like they were in the past, even when I grew up, to value someone’s life and to value someone’s family,” Dennis said.
There have been 13 murders in Sumter this year, compared to seven last year. Officials say this has made many in the community fearful.
“Some of them have been there all their lives, and they shouldn’t have to move just because this criminal element moves in. It’s our job is to remove that criminal element and that’s what we are doing,” Dennis said.
Sumter County Sheriff’s have increased patrols in areas with pockets of crime.
“We were more active with gangs in the past; we had a gang task force,” Dennis said.
Police determined the car used in the shooting was stolen from a Sumter County home just days before the shooting.
Officers identified Sierra Renee Wilson as the suspect in the theft of the car.
The Sumter Police Department spotted that stolen car on Sept. 21 and tried to pull over the person driving it but he fled, starting a chase.
Two people who were in the car during that chase fled on foot and got away from police, but officers were able to identify the suspects as Trayvaune Scott and Armonie Freeman.
Investigators took the car in for processing and uncovered evidence tying the car to the murders. Warrants were issued for the arrests of Scott and Freeman.
Wilson was arrested Nov. 12.
The next day, officers went to Scott’s house to serve his warrant.
Scott fled his house but was quickly caught and taken into custody. Freeman was also in the home and was arrested. Officers seized weapons and drugs from the home, as well.
All three people face murder charges among a long list of other charges.
Wilson is charged with two counts of murder, grand larceny of a vehicle and financial transaction card theft.
Freeman faces the following charges: two counts of murder, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, criminal conspiracy, obstruction of justice, possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, possession of marijuana and possession of a stolen firearm.
Scott faces a similar list of charges, including two counts of murder, possession of a stolen vehicle, failure to stop for a blue light, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, criminal conspiracy, obstruction of justice, possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a stolen firearm.
Wilson, Freeman, and Scott will be in court Thursday.
Sheriff Dennis said this homicide case is not related to the controversial video “Boost the Murder Rate.”