Beaufort Co. sheriff: gang activity a growing problem

Sheriff P.J. Tanner
Sheriff P.J. Tanner
David Bruno
David Bruno

By Christy Hutchings - bio | email

Investigators said they think a 13 year old who was shot and killed by a friend was being recruited by a gang.

It's activity that Sheriff P.J. Tanner says is an increasing problem in Beaufort County.

"We have a group of young men throughout Beaufort County associating themselves as gangsters," Tanner told WTOC.

He said the members range in races, ages and even backgrounds. But one thing is the same – their reason for joining.

"They feel wanted, they feel like there's a bond. There's a friendship," he said.

On Sunday, a 13 year old lost his life in at a Bluffton home. He was hanging out with a two older teens.

"These kids were up all night. They were out and about through the community on foot and they went to several parties over the weekend- they came home; they were in the bedroom; they were smoking marijuana, drinking liquor; they were playing with a gun," Tanner said.

Police said David Bruno fired a fatal shot, killing the 13 year old. Both Bruno and the other teen ran from the home, but authorities knew exactly whose house they were at, according to police.

"We've been to this house several times and a lot of misdemeanor reports- a lot of agitation in the neighborhood because of activities that go on at this house," Tanner said.

Once inside, they found even more.

"This boy's room - it was just covered up in gang markings or graffiti - or whatever you want to call it," he said.

The sheriff's office said many communities are scared to come forward and report criminal activity.

Tanner even believes Bruno's own parents are afraid of him.

"All indicators are he basically runs the house, even though he has parents who live there, he's in charge and I think they are intimidated by him. That's not unusual in these cases," Tanner said.

The sheriff said they have an ongoing investigation involving a lot of these guys, including Bruno, and some of his associates.

He also says the teen killed was allowed to go and come without supervision. The last time the teen's family spoke with him was Friday - two days before the killing.

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