Suspect recently released from jail still on the run after fatal shooting

Ronald Ratliff (Source: Charleston County Sheriffs Office)
Ronald Ratliff (Source: Charleston County Sheriffs Office)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – A man wanted on murder charges by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office is still on the run Monday.

A woman was shot and killed Saturday night and sheriff's deputies believe the suspect is a man just released from prison. Authorities are looking for 40-year-old Ronald David Ratliff.

Deputies say Ratliff shot his 65-year-old ex-mother-in-law who was visiting from out of town around 6:40 p.m. on Debbenshire Drive in West Ashley. The victim, Linda Hayes, was transported to MUSC, but later died as a result of her wounds.

The Charleston County Coroner's Office says Hayes died of two gunshot wounds to the right side of her body. She was pronounced dead at 7:30 p.m. at MUSC. Neighbors said Hayes was in town visiting her daughter from Florida.

The sheriff's office has obtained warrants for Ratliff for murder charges in connection with the incident.

A neighbor of the victim, who says she was close to the family, said that Hayes was in the process of moving in with her daughter, Ratliff's ex-wife, at the address of the incident. Ratliff's ex-wife separated from him after the domestic violence assualt a few months ago. Hayes is orginally from Key West, Fla.

The victim's husband was home and identified Ratliff as the shooter. The ex-wife was not home at the time of the shooting.

Authorities say Ratliff was released from the Charleston County Detention Center on Tuesday. He was originally arrested for criminal domestic violence related to an incident on Debbenshire Drive back in September 2010.

Ratliff was released from the detention center after pleading guilty to assaulting his ex-wife during the September incident. His arrest and subsequent charges came after an investigation by the sheriff's office. Investigators do not have a motive for Saturday night's incident.

Deputies say Ratliff was last seen driving a white 2000 model Ford Van with South Carolina tag EPP-250. The van may have Dallas Cowboys stickers on the windows and a vanity Cowboys license plate.

Ratliff stands 5'10" weighs 210 pounds. He has scars on his neck and tattoos on his back, shoulders and upper right arm. Deputies say he is armed with a small caliber handgun that he used in the shooting. He also has a history of assault and drugs, according to authorities.

Deputies believe Ratliff may be heading to Pensacola, FL where they say he has family. Police urge caution since Ratliff is considered armed and dangerous.

Please contact Crime Stoppers at 554-1111 with any information on the whereabouts of Ronald David Ratliff.

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