Pair of murder-suicides adds to anguish in Aiken County

Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 1:28 PM EDT
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WARRENVILLE, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Aiken County Coroner’s Office is investigating two murder-suicides in Aiken County within a couple of days.

The latest one was at a home in the 100 block of Pelzer Street in Warrenville. The call came in around 7:47 Friday night.

When deputies arrived, they found a woman in the front yard of the home, and a man was found on the front porch of the home. Both were suffering gunshot wounds.

The woman was identified as 34-year-old Lacey Toole, and the man was her boyfriend, John Williams. The investigation determined following a domestic incident, Toole was shot by her boyfriend who then turned a gun on himself, the coroner’s office says.

The pair were taken to Augusta University Medical Center, where Toole succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead shortly after midnight. Williams passed away sometime before noon on Sunday, and the sheriff’s office was alerted of his passing around 3 p.m.

The coroner’s office and the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office are continuing with the investigation.

It was the second shooting under similar circumstances in Aiken County. Not even 48 hours earlier, deputies began investigating a murder-suicide on Summerhill Avenue. That shooting claimed the lives of 37-year-old Yoni Vargas and his wife, 33-year-old Rosa Salguero-Landaverde. Their five children were reportedly across the street at the time of the shooting and were the ones who called law enforcement for help.

A coroner’s investigation determined that Vargas shot Salguero-Landaverde before taking his own life.

Deputies say they believe there was a domestic argument before the shooting between the couple.

String of violence

These shootings are just two of the latest incidents in a string of shootings that’s left a trail of injuries and deaths across the CSRA.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is investigating a shooting that happened Wednesday night in Allendale.

On Tuesday night, someone opened fire at a graduation party in Barnwell County, destroying several cars, injuring some people, and causing emotional trauma.

And on Sunday, a shooting killed two people at a large gathering with about 1,000 people in Sandersville, Ga.

Other deadly crimes since April 14 in the CSRA include:

  • 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.
  • On May 3, Charles L. Bradley, 49, of Aiken, was shot dead while in a car at Hampton Avenue and Assembly Street. That shooting was among a string of them that night in Aiken, although the other shootings didn’t hurt anyone.
  • 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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