String of murders in West Ashley concerning community

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – A string of murders in West Ashley led members of the community to voice their concern at Thursday's Citizens' Advisory Group meeting at Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary School. So far, for every month of this year, West Ashley has witnessed a deadly shooting.

"This is not normal," says West Ashley resident Diane Hamilton.

"I was concerned about the shootings we've had recently to know what has generated them. Because that's not normal, that's out of the ordinary."

The murders began after the New Year with a three day manhunt for suspected murderer Ronald David Ratliff. The search took authorities down Folly Road but returned them to West Ashley where authorities say the suspect ended his life.

In February, 25-year-old James Javon Smith was shot on St. Clair Drive while sitting in the passenger side of a car. He was dropped of at St. Andrews Fire Station where he died.

The most recent shooting happened this Monday. A woman was shot and killed while washing her dishes in a house on Taborwood Circle.

Public Information Officer Charles Frances says the police department has allocated additional resources to West Ashley and says the force is making their presence as visible as possible.

"I have definitely seen an increase of the police in the area," says Hamilton. "So I'm definitely pleased with that."

Copyright 2011 WCSC.  All rights reserved.