ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Two Orangeburg men have been charged with murder in last week's fatal shooting near Santee, according to Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell.
"These arrests came about by simply staying the course and staying on the trail that led to these individuals," Ravenell said. "A day, a week, a year – we don't stop until we've located, as in this case, individuals who have committed murder and then try to slip away."
Alphonso Fields, 27, and Laron Thomas, 25, have each been charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and one count of armed robbery.
During a hearing on Friday, Orangeburg County magistrate Sam Daily deferred bond on Thomas to a circuit court judge at a later date.
Fields, however, declined to be present for his court appearance. His case will still move forward regardless of his no show Friday.
The investigation began when a 24-year-old man died after shots were fired during a robbery on Sept. 26 at an Old Number Six Highway residence near Santee. Two others at the residence were wounded in the shooting.
Witnesses said that just after 10 p.m. they saw two men approach a neighboring home after a vehicle pull onto that property.
Moments later, gunfire was heard coming from the direction of the nearby home. The two men seen earlier were seen again running from the home. One appeared to be holding his side.
When deputies arrived they found three men laying on the ground, one deceased. The two wounded victims were taken to undisclosed hospitals.
According to the warrants, a .357 handgun and an AR-15 rifle were taken from the victims.
"These individuals needed to be taken off the street," Ravenell said, "and they were."
Investigator Marty Carrigg is leading the ongoing investigation.