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The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office is working to understand what led to a murder-suicide shooting incident that left a Mayesville husband and wife dead late Sunday night.
Deputies responded to Eastern School Road in Mayesville for a domestic violence call shortly before midnight on April 4. Upon arrival, they spoke to a 16-year-old boy who said his mother and stepfather were talking in the living room and that his mother’s face was bloody, according to Deputy Adrienne Sarvis, public information officer for the sheriff’s office.
The scene appeared quiet at the time deputies arrived and entered the residence, Sarvis said. As deputies moved toward the living room, they observed a man sitting on a sofa with a woman, and she immediately called out to the deputies.
The man then suddenly pulled out a handgun and lifted it, Sarvis said. As deputies sought cover and removed the teen from harm’s way, a shot was fired followed by a second shot a few seconds later.
Deputies then entered the living room, where it appeared that the man had shot the woman and then himself, according to Sarvis. Both died at the scene.
The female was identified as 36-year-old Shameka Lashon Dantzler. The man was identified as 41-year-old Lester Reed.
Next of kin have been notified, and autopsies are scheduled for Tuesday morning at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, according to Sumter County Coroner Robbie Baker.
No shots were fired by law enforcement and no one else was injured, Sarvis said. The juvenile was safely removed from the scene and placed in the care of a family member.
“I am saddened by this tragic and needless event,” Sheriff Anthony Dennis said. “I pray for the families involved, particularly, for the juvenile who witnessed this horrific event."
Dennis encouraged victims of domestic abuse or loved ones who are aware or suspicious of abuse to reach out for help.
Sumter County Sheriff’s Office victims advocates can provide information and resources to assist victims in escaping abusive relationships.
"Early intervention can be a key to protecting victims of domestic abuse," Dennis said. "While we do not yet know all the details concerning this couple’s relationship history, we do know that the very sudden and rapid progression of Mr. Reed’s actions Sunday night resulted in a deadly outcome.”
This incident is still under investigation.
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