The Sumter County sheriff said he asked the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Gang Task Force to help investigate after two Sumter residents were killed Wednesday in Cherryvale. Sheriff Anthony Dennis said he thinks the incident is another gang-related shooting.
A preliminary investigation indicates the two victims were walking in the 1000 block of Cherryvale Drive when a dark-colored vehicle stopped and the occupants opened fire on them, according to Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Adrienne Sarvis.
Christopher A. Thompson, 19, of Santee Drive, was found dead at the scene when the Sumter County Coroner’s Office arrived about 1 a.m. Sept. 18, Coroner Robbie Baker said. Thompson was pronounced dead at Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital of an apparent gunshot wound. An autopsy is scheduled for today at MUSC in Charleston.
The second victim, 22-year-old Michael Sigler, was taken into surgery at Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital on Wedneday morning and then flown to Prisma Health Richland, Baker said. The sheriff’s office said Sigler had sustained severe injuries and was in critical condition. He died just after 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sarvis confirmed.
Sigler’s family has been notified of his death, and an autopsy is being scheduled.
This is the latest in a string of deadly shootings. They have not all been related, but they have largely involved suspects and victims 30 years old and younger. The SLED Gang Task Force will assist the sheriff’s office in the investigation of Wednesday’s and other recent shootings in Sumter.
“This is the second homicide we are investigating in the county this year,” Dennis said in a news release. “This does not appear to be a random shooting.”
Dennis noted an increase in gang-related incidents this month and this summer as the reason he asked SLED to assist. In the city, six people have been arrested in connection to recent gang activity — five on outstanding warrants and one on a murder charge in connection to the gas station shooting on Broad Street on Sept. 8. The five were all wanted for questioning about the rival gangs, and two were at the scene of a non-fatal shooting in the Robney Drive area on Sept. 12.
The Sumter Police Department responded to two other calls of shots being fired Wednesday, Public Information Officer Tonyia McGirt confirmed. Officers could be seen picking up casings and marking a scene at South Purdy and Bartlette streets.
Coroner Baker also noted recent shootings being more than normal.
“Never in my 35 years in public safety have I seen this many homicides in this short amount of time,” Baker said.
He said Wednesday’s shooting deaths were the ninth and 10th he has responded to since May 30 and the third double homicide.
“It’s sad to think these young kids don’t treasure life,” Baker said. “This is not a video game. It’s real life.”
Those three double homicides do not include Nevaeh Adams, a 5-year-old girl who has been presumed dead by the Sumter Police Department, Baker’s office and other investigators.
She has been missing since her mother, Sharee Bradley, was found dead on Aug. 5. A man has been charged with murder in connection to both Bradley and Adams, but Adams’ body has not been found. The coroner’s office responded to that scene, and it is a separate case than the gang-related shootings.
The coroner’s office has now seen a total of 11 homicides in Sumter County since Jan. 1, with one occurring on Feb. 16 and nine since July.
A non-fatal triple shooting at the American Mobile Home Plaza off Broad Street in Cherryvale was also an unrelated incident.
If you have any information about this shooting, call Sumter County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 436-2000 or Sumter Crime Stoppers at (803) 436-2718. Tips can also be submitted online at www.p3tips.com. Those who provide information can be anonymous.
This story will be updated.
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