Police identify hotel shooting, robbery suspect

Police investigate an incident at Comfort Suites (Source: Harve Jacobs)
Police investigate an incident at Comfort Suites (Source: Harve Jacobs)
Police are on the scene of a possible double shooting (Source: Harve Jacobs)
Police are on the scene of a possible double shooting (Source: Harve Jacobs)

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The North Charleston Police Department says they have identified a suspect in connection with a shooting behind a hotel that left one man shot on Monday.

Authorities say warrants are being drawn for the suspect whose identity has not been released.

Officers responded to the Comfort Suites hotel on 2540 North Forest Drive in reference to a person walking with a gunshot wound Monday morning. When officers arrived, they located a 22-year-old man laying on the floor in the main lobby. Officers say the victim appeared to have a gunshot wound to his lower back and to his lower leg.

According to a police report, a witness saw a man shoot the victim. Witnesses say the suspect then ran into the woods towards the North Oakridge and Tedder Street area.

Investigators say the suspect shot the victim during an attempted armed robbery. According to police, the victim was on a path near the woods behind the motel when a guy with a gun apparently tried to rob him. There was an argument, then gunshots were fired.

Hotel employees followed instructions from 911 to help stop the bleeding and keep the shooting victim calm. He was transported to MUSC and is listed in serious condition. People staying in nearby hotels were surprised to hear what happened.

"I wasn't sure if it was just kids playing, maybe firecrackers, but the way it went off wasn't like firecrackers," said Eric Menefee.

It wasn't until the crime scene tape went up outside the Comfort Suites that guests at a nearby motel realized that something was wrong.

"We thought they were playing or something, we didn't think it was somebody got shot," Chrystin Flint said.

A Comfort Suites regional director was sitting in his office at the time. He says the victim came in to the hotel lobby through a side door.

"All of a sudden, my front desk associate came running in, said someone's been shot in the lobby," Geoff Cipkala said. "She goes, 'he came in with his hand crunched over, looked like he was playing and then fell to the ground and said he was shot.' "

After a call to 911, hotel employees tried to stop the bleeding until EMS arrived. Officers searched for the suspect in the woods. A Charleston County sheriff's helicopter searched from the sky.

Comfort Suites officials say the incident is not normal and that in 10 years, neither of their two motels in that part of the city has ever had any crime problems.

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