Neighbor describes scene as Police, S.W.A.T swarm West Ashley home

By Mark Davenport     email    twitter

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - It was like a movie on surround sound. Police sirens came from every direction and orders were barked into walkie talkies every minute. A usually quiet street was in an uproar for the second time in less than a week.

Philip Smith lives across the street and watched as officers arrived to 1834 Debbenshire Dr. on Tuesday afternoon. Authorities responded in reference to a shooting involving a man wanted for a murder at the same address Saturday night.

"My wife said the detective got out and run in the house and then most of the people - I don't know - I don't know how many people were in the house - a whole bunch of people came out of the house," Smith said. "Then the police started showing up."

Authorities had been searching the suspect's van, which was found on James Island Tuesday, when the call came in. Dozens of police cruisers raced to the West Ashley home.

According to police, the suspect, 40-year-old Ronald David Ratliff, shot his ex-wife, Melissity Hayes, just three days after fatally shooting her mother.

Other neighbors in surrounding houses were rushed from their homes to police cars down the street.

Minutes later, Charleston County S.W.A.T trucks rumbled in with two entire S.W.A.T teams. Snipers got into position within 15 minutes of the call. Traffic was completely shut down on Raoul Wallenberg Blvd. with no one allowed in or out. Everyone on scene was locked down and waiting.

After putting gas to the house around 7 p.m., SWAT teams entered the residence and found the body of a white male believed to be Ratliff. The Charleston County Coroner is expected to release the victim's identity Wednesday.

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