Jackson man in critical condition after shooting

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September 3, 2006

A manhunt continues tonight in Aiken County. 22-year old Derrick Valentine was shot in his Jackson home, and the suspect, considered armed and dangerous, is still on the loose.

When shots rang out at 29 Wood Leaf Drive around 1 o'clock this afternoon, CrimeTeam 12's Lynnsey Gardner was first on the scene.

Carl Hughes' kids were home alone at their house on Runs Creek Drive when an armed man burst through the door.

"They just said the guy looked nervous...like someone was behind him," said Hughes. "They cooperated with him and let him come in and use the phone, and then he fled in a car."

The armed man had a reason to flee...he was being tracked by air, and on the ground with bloodhounds.

It all started at a trailer home on Wood Leaf Drive in Jackson. The suspect began fighting with 22-year-old Derrick Valentine around 1 o'clock.

"The guy was behind him and was like get down, get down," recalled witness Nicole Hilton.

No one knows why the two men were arguing.

"We don't know what led up to this," said Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt. "We don't know if it was a drug related shooting. Most of our shootings recently are drug related."

Hilton's cousin was in the home with five children when the shots rang out.

"My other little cousin was here, and he was just trying to get the kids out the door, and that's when he just started shooting," Hilton said.

Hilton is still in shock.

"It could have been her or one of the kids," she said.

Her cousin and the kids weren't injured.

Derrick Valentine was rushed to MCG in critical condition, suffering from gunshot and stab wounds.

The suspect was long gone. He first fled across the street behind the IGA store and then broke into two homes on Runs Creek Drive...the first being Carl Hughes' house.

"I never would have thought someone would come to my house and go out like this...but you never know," Hughes said.

The Hughes family, like many others in the neighborhood, says they will sleep a lot better once the man who is responsible is off their streets.

Authorities have yet to release a name of the suspect.

They believe he's a black male in his 20's, around 5 foot 8, weighing between 150 to 160 pounds.

He was last seen wearing dark pants and a white shirt tied around his head.

He is also believed to have an afro.

Seven different agencies are working this case, including SLED and the Aiken County Sheriff's Office. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-922-9709 or Crime Stoppers of the Midlands at 888-559-TIPS.