CAMDEN, SC (WIS) - A Camden man is charged with voluntary manslaughter after deputies say he shot and killed a teenager he claims was stealing from his truck.
49-year-old Jimmy Joe Methe was arrested early Saturday morning by Kershaw County deputies for shooting and killing 17-year-old Brandon Spencer, according to a statement from the Kershaw County Sheriff's Department.
The statement goes on to say that Kershaw County deputies responded to reports of shots being fired at an address in East Camden on Norton Drive. The deputies were met by Methe who told them he had shot someone, later identified as Spencer, when he had seen Spencer and another person stealing from his truck, according investigators.
The person who was with Spencer ran from the scene and has not yet been identified.
Deputies say investigators have recovered items that were stolen from Methe's truck, as well as a gas can and a hose that they believe were used to siphon gas from Methe's truck.
"Jimmy Methe and his family went to bed last night with no idea that a few hours later he would shoot and kill someone who had tried to steal from him and his family," Sheriff Jim Matthews with the KSCO said. "Brandon Spencer may not have even gone to bed last night, planning with his buddy to steal from an innocent homeowner. He certainly had no idea he would end up dead. The law states that you can use deadly force to protect yourself, your family or someone who is in immediate danger of death or great bodily harm. The law does not allow you to shoot and kill someone who has stolen from you and is fleeing. Unfortunately, Jimmy Methe made a split second bad decision and will now face criminal charges. Law abiding citizens are frustrated with the failure of our criminal justice system that really does not deter crime. Situations like what occurred early this morning are more and more likely to be the result of that frustration."
Over the past six months, deputies say Methe's neighborhood has been hit with several vehicle break-ins as well as larcenies and burglaries, including one report of a vehicle break-in at Methe's home in which two guns were stolen.
Spencer has one prior arrest for possession of marijuana in February of this year and Methe has been previously arrested for a marijuana violation in 1995.
Spencer was a sophomore at Camden High School. Kershaw County School District spokeswoman Mary Anne Byrd released a statement saying, "We were saddened to learn of the loss of one of our students, and extend our prayers and sympathies to his family."
Grief counselors will be made available to any person needing to talk in the coming days. Spencer is the fourth Camden High School student to die during the last year and a half. The other three students were killed in car crashes.
Methe is currently being held at the Kershaw County Detention Center. He will remain there until his bond hearing some time in the upcoming week.