CLARENDON COUNTY, S.C. — The Clarendon County Sheriff confirms that seven people, including children, have been injured and a woman is dead following a suspected drive-by shooting into a graduation party.
Sheriff Tim Baxley told News19 that the shooting happened just after 11 p.m. in the St. Paul community outside of Summerton, South Carolina.
Sheriff Baxley said that a graduation party was underway in the yard outside a residence on St. Paul Road when two vehicles appeared. One stayed on the nearby highway and the other pulled up to the event.
According to witnesses, shots then began ringing out. In the gunfire, seven people, a 12-year-old, 13-year-old, 14-year-old, two 15-year-olds, a 17-year-old, and a 36-year-old were all injured. An eighth victim, identified as a 32-year-old woman, died at an area hospital.
It's unclear if the incident was targeted at a specific person or if anybody in the crowd returned fire, however, the sheriff said they believe, at this point, that it may have been gang-related.
Roughly 60 shell casings have been recovered from the scene so far. The sheriff estimated that about 150 people were outside when the shooting occurred.
"Senseless acts won't be tolerated. There's absolutely no reasoning whatsoever for things like this to be happening," Sheriff Baxley said. "This was a school graduation party and you've got all these innocent children that were there that were hit by gunfire."
The sheriff is now urging anyone with information to call the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office at 803-435-4414.