Aiken County copes with outbreak of car-to-car shootings

The driver of this car was shot on May 18, 2022, on Jefferson Davis Highway in Aiken County.
The driver of this car was shot on May 18, 2022, on Jefferson Davis Highway in Aiken County.(WRDW)
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 4:05 PM EDT
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CLEARWATER, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’re learning more about the latest incident in an outbreak of car-to-car violence in Aiken County – a shooting Tuesday night that sent one person to a hospital.

Among the new details, we now know it was a vehicle-to-vehicle shooting and that the victim was a female.

The shooting was reported at 8:41 p.m. Tuesday at the intersection of Cherokee Drive and Hill Street in the Clearwater community outside North Augusta, according to the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office.

The victim was taken to Augusta University Medical Center by a personal vehicle, according to Capt. Eric Abdullah with the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office.

Her condition was unknown.

“Information is limited in this case,” Abdullah told News 12.

The shooting was the latest in a string of them in recent weeks. Although the initial crime wave mostly affected Richmond County, much of the violence has moved across the state line into Aiken County.

In fact, an increasing number of the shootings have been vehicle-to-vehicle incidents:

Plus there was the April 20 shoot-out between officers and suspect Nathaniel Meade that sent Meade to a hospital. It happened in the middle of Jefferson Davis Highway on the edge of North Augusta after a gunpoint hostage situation that was streamed online

Shootings since mid-April have claimed several lives. Just last week in Aiken County, two murder-suicides left four people dead within a couple of days.

Deadly crimes since April 14 in the CSRA include:

  • On June 3 in the 100 block of Pelzer Street in Warrenville, 34-year-old Lacey Toole was shot dead by her boyfriend John Williams, who then turned the gun on himself.
  • On June 2 on Summerhill Avenue, 37-year-old Yoni Vargas shot his wife, 33-year-old Rosa Salguero-Landaverde, then killed himself.
  • 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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