Bond denied for all 4 suspects of Clarendon County graduation party mass shooting
SUMMERTON, S.C. (WIS) - Clarendon County deputies arrested four men in connection with a mass shooting at a graduation party that left one person dead and injured eight others.
The shooting happened on June 4 at a home on St. Paul Road near Summerton. Investigators say two cars pulled up to the home, and one of the drivers began firing shots. The cars then sped away, heading south on St. Paul Highway.
Deputies arrested 21-year-old Tyrese Brunson, 18-year-old Amontae Wright, 19-year-old Jaheim Billie and 21-year-old Demadrae Dennis.
Dennis turned himself in shortly after Clarendon County Sheriff Tim Baxley held a news conference announcing the arrests of the first three men.
Baxley said that the US Marshall’s Fugitive Task Force was assisting in locating and arresting Dennis.
Each is charged with one count of murder, 8 counts of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
“These arrests do not mean that the investigation is over,” Baxley said. “It will continue as more suspects may be identified and charged. As stated, when this incident occurred on June the 4th, we believe this was a gang-related incident stemming from other incidents that have taken place in the county.”
The FBI’s gang task force has been called to assist with this ongoing investigation and investigations into other gang-related incidents in Clarendon County, according to deputies.
A motive has not yet been determined, Baxley said.
32-year-old Audrionna Kind, known as Tutu, was shot and killed in the shooting. She was a mother of five.
Initially, deputies said that there were eight victims. A ninth victim, a 17-year-old, came forward with a gunshot wound from the incident on June 6. Each of the eight surviving victims have been treated and released from area hospitals.
The ages of the juvenile victims range from 12 to 17 years old.
Through the course of the investigation and interviews with the victims, deputies determined that all of the victims were standing in the front yard of the home or near the road when a car pulled up and opened fire into the crowd of about 150. Investigators believe that up to 70 rounds were fired.
A number of local law enforcement agencies have assisted in the investigation.
Those include the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Manning Police Department, Sumter Police Department, Lexington County Sheriff’s Office and Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
That collaboration is what helped lead to these arrests, Baxley said.
“When law enforcement, when we can all get together as one team, we can make things happen,” Baxley said. “And this is not going to change what has happened for the loss of the life of Tutu Kind. But we have closure for the family now.”
A spokesperson for the Kind family sent WIS a statement reacting to the arrests, which reads: “It’s a huge relief for the family and a lot of weight off our shoulders. Although this will not bring her back, we have some comfort with knowing the shooters of the drive-by were put behind bars. Now the real work is finding the purpose behind this madness. Nothing can take away the pain that we feel as a family however we are happy to hear that they have made some arrests in the case. We just hope that prosecutors fight just as hard to put them away and to keep them off the streets so they aren’t able to take other lives. It’s hard to see our smiles because it’s hidden by our tears, what they took from us cannot be replaced. We will wait for true justice in the court rooms.”
Both Brunson and Dennis have prior criminal records.
In December, Brunson was charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, as well as possession of a weapon during a violent crime. Both cases are pending, court records show.
Dennis faced burglary and larceny charges from February 2019, was charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol in June 2019. He was also arrested for failing to stop for blue lights in June of last year. Court records show that each of these cases is pending.
Bond was denied for all four suspects.
If convicted of the charges in connection with the shooting that resulted in Kind’s death, the penalties are as follows: murder carries a sentence of up to 30 years to life in prison, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and possession of a weapon during a violent crime carries a five-year penalty that runs consecutively with other sentences.
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