3rd person arrested in shooting that killed 6-year-old boy

Published: May. 30, 2022 at 12:15 PM EDT|Updated: May. 30, 2022 at 4:56 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Monday the 20-year-old man wanted in the May 13 drive-by shooting that killed a child in North is in custody.

Michael Lloyd was arrested at approximately 2 a.m. Monday in Ontario, New York, Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said.

He will face a charge of murder in the shooting death of 6-year-old Winston Hunter, Ravenell said.

Ravenell announced during a Sunday afternoon news conference at the steps of the Orangeburg County Courthouse that a 19-year-old man, Ethan Anderson, and a juvenile had already been arrested.

Flanked by law enforcement officers and members of Winston Hunter's family, Orangeburg County...
Flanked by law enforcement officers and members of Winston Hunter's family, Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell (left) and SLED Director Mark Keel (right) held a photo of 20-year-old Michael Lloyd, whom Ravenell said was wanted in Hunter's killing.(Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office)

During that news conference, Ravenell and State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel held up a photo of Lloyd, who Ravenell said was also wanted in the drive-by shooting.

“He can run,” Ravenell said Sunday afternoon as members of Hunter’s family looked on. “New York is not far enough. We are, at this present time, in contact with law enforcement all over this country to locate him.”

Ethan Thorne Anderson, 19, and the juvenile, who was not identified because of his age, are...
Ethan Thorne Anderson, 19, and the juvenile, who was not identified because of his age, are both charged with murder,(Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office)

Meanwhile, Anderson faces charges that include one count of murder, three counts of attempted murder and three counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in the shooting death of Winston Hunter, according to court documents.

Anderson was arrested in West Columbia on Friday and faced Judge Robert Lake for a virtual arraignment Sunday afternoon in Orangeburg County. Lake set bond for the weapons charges but denied bond for the attempted murder charges. Bond was automatically denied for the murder charge.

A juvenile, who was not named because of his age, was arrested in New York state and would be returned to South Carolina as quickly as possible, Ravenell said.

6-year-old boy died in drive-by shooting connected to drugs, sheriff said

The shooting on May 13 claimed the life of 6-year-old Winston Hunter. Ravenell said the family had returned to their McClain Street home in the Woodford community after a weekly family gathering. Investigators say a passing vehicle opened fire at about 11:35 p.m.

Hunter, who was inside the home, was shot and killed in the shooting.

Ravenell said the investigation revealed the tragic night began when several people met in West Columbia and decided to drive to the Woodford area of North to either buy drugs or rob someone.

“It all leads back to marijuana,” he said. “Now, 6-year-old Winston and his family’s house was shot up accidentally. Let’s get that out there. There was no marijuana there. They were not looking for anybody there. Now that’s still under investigation as far as the area, but I can tell you that without a shadow of a doubt.”

Surveillance footage of vehicle led to arrests

Investigators released surveillance footage showing a vehicle they were working to identify in the shooting on May 17. Deputies said the footage was captured by security cameras entering Highway 321 in Woodford within minutes of the shooting. The video appeared to show a silver or gray two-door sedan.

Ravenell said the day after the information about the vehicle released, deputies received a tip from police in New York City about a vehicle they had stopped with two people inside. Police gave Orangeburg County deputies the name of the vehicle’s owner, Anderson, who was arrested in West Columbia on Friday, he said.

New York Police detained two people in Anderson’s vehicle, including the juvenile who would be charged with murder, Ravenell said.

“We have recovered two of the three guns, weapons, that were used in this crime,” he said.

Man named ‘person of interest’ in shooting also in custody

Deputies named a person of interest in the shooting on May 20. They said 29-year-old Joshua Devon Pettus of Neeses was wanted for questioning in Hunter’s death. Ravenell confirmed at the news conference that Pettus turned himself in to authorities last week the day after a prayer vigil.

The sheriff’s office has not yet said what charges Pettus is facing or how he might be connected to the incident.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office at 803-534-3550 or Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

SLED Chief: ‘We have a significant violent crime problem’

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Director Mark Keel called the shooting a “senseless tragedy that we are seeing all too often in our community” at Sunday’s news conference.

“We have a significant violent crime problem in our state. Law enforcement cannot fix this problem by ourselves,” he said.

Keel cited a report released last year on 2020 crime stats. That report found the state had the highest number of murders, at 558, ever recorded since record-keeping began in the 1960s.

He said there was a 22.1% increase in murders from 2019 to 2020 and a 29.2% increase in aggravated assaults. The report also listed a 52.9% increase in murders over five years, he said.

“That is unprecedented. Again, I’ll tell you that we all have to work together,” Keel said. “It begins with our families, parents, our churches, educational community, law enforcement mental health community social services, the court, judges, prosecutors, public defenders until we all come together and work together. We’re not gonna solve this problem that we have right now.”

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