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“An angel on earth:” Orangeburg County community honors the life of 6-year-old killed in drive-by shooting

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Published: May. 18, 2022 at 9:17 PM EDT
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WOODFORD, S.C. (WIS) - An Orangeburg County community is honoring the life of a 6-year-old boy killed in a drive-by shooting.

Winston Hunter was killed on late Friday night on McClain Street in Woodford.

The family’s place of worship, Bethlehem Baptist Church, set up a memorial at the church on Wednesday. Friends, family and the church community gathered to tie balloons to the fence outside the church and share messages of love and support for Hunter.

The memorial was sponsored by the church’s youth ministry. Samantha Johnson, one of Bethlehem Baptist Church’s youth ministry coordinators, said she had known Hunter all of his “short, but precious life.”

“You know they say angels are in heaven, but I do believe he was an angel on earth,” she said. “He had an infectious smile, a smile that just made any room glow. He was such a precious soul. He was a member of our church and a member of the youth ministry, and he loved coming and having a good time and learning about the Lord.”

Johnson said he was also very active during youth day.

“He would always love to dance and sing, and he even tried to preach a couple times, so we nicknamed him Deacon Winston.”

Schenita Rogers, a family friend, helped organize Hunter’s baby shower. She said this is a devastating loss.

“This is a young man who was a great, inspiring young man,” she said. “He loved the church, he was very energetic, loving baseball, loving participating in family and church events. So today I came out here to show my love and support to saying we love you ‘Win-Win.’”

Rogers placed a collection of balloons on the church’s fence that spelled out Win-Win, as he was affectionately known.

She said with his family supporting him, Hunter could have accomplished anything.

Jonathan Richardson said he may have only been six years old, but Hunter had the soul of a little man.

According to Richardson, Hunter was wise beyond his years, and full of warmth.

“When you come into the house, he’d come running to you,” he said. “He’s the type of kid that he loved everybody.”

The community gave back that love to him and his family on Wednesday. Rogers shared a message of support for Hunter’s mother.

“Words could never fill the gap of losing her son, but we are here to let her know that we love her.”

As part of the memorial, McClain Street was designated “Winston Lane” by the church community.

“We were already I believe a close community, but I hope that this not only brings us closer together but helps us love more,” Johnson said.

Rev. Felix C. Anderson, the pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, said that the church wanted to set up this memorial for Hunter to show “the depths of the church’s love” for him and his family.

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