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1 suspect arrested, 1 at-large in murder of Aiken driver

Javon Croft
Javon Croft(WRDW)
Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 11:40 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2022 at 11:59 AM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Police have arrested a man in connection with a shooting nearly a month ago that left a man dead in a car in the middle of the roadway.

The Aiken Department of Public Safety said Wednesday that officers had arrested Javon Croft, 24, of Aiken.

He’s one of two suspects in the May 3 shooting death of 49-year-old Charles L. Bradley, of Aiken, near the intersection of Hampton Ave and Assembly Street.

After being arrested at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, Croft was booked into Aiken County jail on charges of murder, kidnapping, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and armed robbery, according to the Aiken Department of Public Safety

Another suspect, Freddie Lee Simpkins, 33, of North Augusta, remains at-large, according to authorities. Simpkins has active warrants for murder, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and several drug charges, authorities said Wednesday.

Freddie Lee Simpkins
Freddie Lee Simpkins(WRDW)

Bradley was found dead after Aiken police officers responded around 11:04 p.m. May 3 to investigate a report of gunfire at Hampton Avenue and Assembly Street.

Once there, authorities found a Nissan Versa stopped on Hampton Avenue at Assembly Street. The driver, Bradley, was unresponsive and was pronounced dead on the scene from at least one gunshot wound.

The incident was one of three reports of gunshots investigated that night by the Aiken Department of Public Safety. The others were at 676 Aldrich St. and 1316 Aldrich St.

At the Aldrich Street locations in Crosland Park, officers found damage to residences from gunfire, but there were no injuries.

Bradley’s slaying came amid a wave of violent crime in the CSRA that’s affecting both sides of the Savannah River.

Other deadly crimes since April 14 in the CSRA include:

  • On May 29, William Lowery, 17, of Louisville, and Christopher Dunn, 30, of Wrightsville, were shot dead at a “Freaknik”-themed party that drew about 1,000 people to the Larry Mitchell Ball Park, 359 Suburban Drive outside Sandersville.
  • On May 7, the body of Joseph McKinnon, 60, was found at 102 Tanglewood Drive in Trenton. Authorities determined he’d died of a heart attack after strangling and burying his girlfriend, Patricia Dent, 65, in the yard.
  • Shooting just before 7:30 p.m. on April 23 claimed the life of Rodriquez Dunn, 31, at the Olmstead Homes in the 2100 block of B Street in Augusta. Dunn suffered at least one gunshot wound and died at the scene.
  • On April 19, Brittany Dougherty was found slain outside a vacant home in the 1500 block of Conklin Lane. Her death was considered suspicious from the start, but within hours the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office ruled her death a homicide.
  • On April 18, Johnnie Coleman was found shot dead in the 1900 block of Old Savannah Road. Authorities released a photo of a car suspected to have been linked to that slaying. Kelvin Lewis, 33, has been arrested as a suspect in the murders of Coleman and Dougherty.
  • Jenefer Holt Herron, 52, of Augusta, died late April 18 after being shot during an argument outside the Circle K at 1739 Walton Way in Augusta. Suspect Yelena Buckner, 33, of Augusta, was later found and arrested on charges of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, deputies reported.
  • JaJuan Russell, 21, of Augusta, was fatally shot early April 17 in the 3700 block of Oslo Road in Augusta. Russell was taken to Augusta University Medical Center.
  • Sandersville police found the body of a man on April 16 inside a home on Gwendolyn Street while responding to a report of a domestic dispute at the address. Santavious Louis Roberts, 35, of Sandersville, was arrested.
  • Brandon Peebles, 24, of Girard, was shot around 10:45 p.m. on April 14 in the 2300 block of Prague Court. He was pronounced dead at 11:23 p.m.

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