Man sentenced to life for Dorchester County murder

Anthony Willis Jr. and Justin Smoot
Anthony Willis Jr. and Justin Smoot
Authorities arrest 17-year-old Anthony Willis Jr.
Authorities arrest 17-year-old Anthony Willis Jr.

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A man was sentenced to life in prison for the shooting death of an 18-year-old man in Dorchester County.

Anthony Willis was found guilty and sentenced on Wednesday for the fatal shooting of Justin Smoot.

The shooting happened in May of 2011 outside an apartment on Trolley Road in Summerville. Dorchester County sheriff's deputies responded to Muir Court in reference to gun shots and a man lying in the street.

Upon arrival, Smoot was found in the street, semi conscience, suffering from gunshot wounds.

A witness told investigators that Willis and Smoot had a confrontation in the Churchill Commons Apartments parking lot prior to the shooting. The witness said that Willis then retrieved a rifle and fired a shot at Smoot and missed. Smoot then fled to Muir Court where he was pursued and shot by Willis, according to deputies. Willis then fled back to the area of his residence in Churchill Commons.

After a description of the shooter was broadcast to local law enforcement agencies, Summerville police located and detained Willis until deputies arrived.

K-9 units from the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office were able to track Willis in the route he fled from where the shooting took place and recovered a rifle that is believed to have been used in the shooting, a police report states.

When deputies arrived on scene, several people were around Smoot, trying to stop the bleeding. Smoot later died during surgery at Trident Medical Center from a gunshot wound to the chest. Deputies say that before Smoot died, he nodded to authorities, indicating that he knew who shot him.

The Dorchester County Corner's Office said Smoot died from hypovolemic shock due to a lacerated lung from the gunshot wound to his chest.

Dorchester District school officials said that Smoot was weeks away from graduating from Ashley Ridge High School.

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