Neighbors react to deadly shootings

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – Charleston City Police are investigating two deadly shootings that occurred in Downtown Charleston Saturday night.

The first shooting occurred on North Romney Street around 4 p.m. Saturday. According to the Charleston County Coroner, 28-year-old Jamar Gathers was pronounced dead on the scene.

The second deadly shooting happened at about 8:45 p.m. at Wolfe and Nassau Streets. Police, EMS and fire fighters arrived on scene and EMS determined the victim had died. The Charleston County Coroner's Office identified the second victim as 36-year-old Darron Heyward. According to the coroner, Heyward died from multiple gunshot wounds.

There are no suspects in custody at this time for either shooting and investigators haven't determined a motive for either shooting. They also are not sure yet if the shooting could be related.

Sunday, neighbors in the areas of both shootings were fearful of what would come next.

"I heard about maybe four or five shots, and I immediately ducked down because it sounded like it came from everywhere," said Allen Jenkins, who lives directly across Wolfe street from the second shooting Saturday night. "I didn't know if they were shooting at the house, or what. And I came out to the window and I saw this body laying on the sidewalk."

Jenkins says he immediately knew the man he saw lying there was dead. He later learned it was Heyward's body left bleeding on the sidewalk.

Sunday, the blood stain on the concrete remained. Jenkins said the shooting outside his door, and the image of the dying man have kept him from sleeping.

"I maybe got four hours of sleep last night, that's about it," Jenkins said. "It shook me up, you know. To see that guy laying on the sidewalk, that's something you don't forget. I've seen it on TV, I've seen it on the movies, but when you're lookin' at it, it takes on a whole different thing, it's a whole different atmosphere when something like that happens."

Residents at the Bridgeview Apartments on North Romney Street were just as worried and shaken Sunday. Saturday afternoon's shooting there was the second in the area in just more than a week. Charleston

Police had several patrols cruising the area in hopes of avoiding any attempts at retaliation. Residents were afraid to be seen talking to news crews.

A teddy bear was attached to a pole over the blood-stained spot where Jermel Gathers was killed. A neighborhood normally full of activity on a Sunday afternoon was quiet and empty, even when an ice cream truck rolled through the complex. Residents expressed deep fears another violent event could erupt any time.

Jenkins says when tensions run so high, fear tends to take over.

"You don't know when somebody's gonna retaliate or what. You don't know what's goin' on, you don't know what happened, what caused it... you don't know."

"But really to me it don't make any sense," Jenkins said. "We killin' each other every day for stupid stuff. That's said. That's really sad."

So far this year, Charleston City Police have responded to six homicide cases compared to nine homicides in 2009.

If you have information, call Charleston Police at 577-7434 or Crime Stoppers at 554-1111.

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