(Hopkins) - The Richland County Sheriffs Department is searching for leads in an early-morning home invasion that left one man dead.
Officials say two men broke into the home at 148 Happy Valley Road just before 5 a.m. Deputies say once inside, 28-year-old Ravone Ladson was shot and killed.
As authorities search for the killer, there’s a close-knit neighborhood also searching for answers.
Many of those living along Happy Valley Road in Hopkins are from the same family. They say they know each other well; and, until today, they thought they knew their neighborhood.
"Never had any problems with anyone--never. It's just always been nice and quiet and peaceful," former resident Brenda Wells said.
Wells lived along Happy Valley Road for 25 years. While she has since moved away, much of her family still resides along the rural stretch of road. All are surprised that one of their neighbors was gunned-down.
"The suspects knew the victim and were looking for something in particular. Not sure what at this point. Again, it's still early in the investigation,” said Captain Joseph Pellicci with the Richland County Sheriffs Department.
For now, that investigation focuses on the crime scene—and on information provided by two witnesses in the house at the time of the shooting. Authorities and neighbors are all wanting to know what caused two people to end a man’s life and a family’s sense of safety.
"Whatever beef--if there was some beef involved--maybe they could've worked it out, talked it out, instead of just shooting a person down like that. It's really bad," Wells lamented.
Anyone with information should call Crimestoppers at 1-888-559-TIPS, or e-mail a tip to the Crimestoppers Web site.