WALTERBORO, SC (WCSC) - Experts say domestic violence is everyone's business, but three men who tried to help a woman in a public domestic dispute with a man, quickly became victims themselves.
Walterboro Police say the incident happened around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at a gas station. Officers say one of the men punched the suspect in the face, and after that the suspect got into his car, chased the men all the way to Colleton County Detention Center, and shot one man in the neck, one in the leg and one in the ankle.
Ervin Sanders Jr. is now facing attempted murder and criminal domestic violence charges.
Walterboro Mayor Bill Young expressed his sympathy to the victims, and shared his thoughts about citizens getting involved.
"I think it would be hard for any man to watch that happen and not try to intervene," Young said.
Domestic violence experts say these cases are among the most dangerous for law enforcement to respond to, and people in the general public who witness it should take a step back.
"I would suggest that you call 911 or call the police and make a report and have the police make a report. They are trained to respond to domestic violence calls and they are in law enforcement, and that's what they are there for," My Sister's House executive director Elmire Raven said.
Experts say if you know it's happening to someone, you should encourage them to get out of the situation, but do not intervene in a dispute.
"Make sure they have the ability to call 911, whether that's having a cell phone, but it's best not to intervene because that's how people get killed," Raven said.
Mayor Young says the best thing for citizens to do is call for help.
"I think it's better if you can call the police to get them there to do things, but in this case, we had someone being attacked, and these guys tried to stop it," Mayor Young said.
South Carolina is ninth in the nation for domestic violence. The State Attorney General's office says statewide 33 women are killed a year by their intimate partner. Experts say for some victims violent attacks happen five to seven times before they choose to get out of the situation.