WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County sheriff's deputies are now investigating if marijuana and guns found at a nearby West Ashley home are related to an attempted home invasion in which a 5-year-old girl was shot in the head and her father was wounded by gunfire.
The double shooting happened early Tuesday morning on Pierpont Avenue off Highway 61. Deputies found two guns and marijuana at a home on nearby Catterton Avenue.
Sheriff Al Cannon held a news conference Tuesday afternoon and said that the girl is in very critical condition.
"Her heart's beating, that's about all right now," said neighbor and family friend Richard Douglas. "She's struggled, she's fighting the good fight right now to stay alive and be here with us."
Detectives say they don't know why the family was targeted, but Cannon says a burglar alarm that went off about 40 minutes later at another home on nearby Catterton Drive could yield some clues.
Deputies found marijuana in the Catterton Avenue house and a handgun was found in the mailbox. Investigators tracked down the homeowner, Juan Carlos Grant, to a home in North Charleston where a standoff with SWAT ensued. Grant eventually surrendered to authorities and was charged with trafficking marijuana.
The Catterton Avenue house incident was a half mile away from the Pierpont Avenue shooting.
"It's a little bit much of a coincidence to not look at it in the context of the shooting in terms of timing and distance," Cannon said.
Investigators say the suspects banged on the door twice just after 1 a.m. When the father approached the door, shots were fired through the door, hitting the man and also hitting the young girl in the head. She was in the front room.
The girl was transported to MUSC with life-threatening injuries. The father's injuries are not life-threatening, according to deputies.
A friend of the family said he can't understand why they were targeted.
"This is a family that does no harm. They are one of those very, very few individuals in this world that you are blessed to have in your life," Douglas said. "The father will drop everything and anything to help whoever needs it. They do everything for everybody and this is a time that they need our help.
While investigators look for suspects, there is concern throughout the neighborhood.
"You can't even be in your house and worry about somebody being out there and not knowing who it is and what they're gonna do. It's just awful," said Lisa Robinson, who works in the neighborhood.
Deputies say the mother and two other children who were inside the house were not hurt.
"Sad for the family, that's all I can say," said neighbor Raymond Ritter. "I just hate everything, so bad and hope everything works out best."
Both the father and daughter are being treated at MUSC. Neighbors say the family has lived in the house for only a few months.
Cannon says that so far detectives have not identified any suspects. Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 554-1111.