COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WMBF/WECT) - A man has been arrested and charged with murder in the 2012 shooting that killed a Columbus County man in Loris, South Carolina.
Loris Police detectives began their investigation in the shooting on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012 with very little clues.
Police Chief Joseph Vaught confirmed that 34-year-old Elroy Miller of North Carolina was shot and killed near an apartment complex on Maple Street around 10 p.m. that night.
But there were no suspects and no motives in the initial stages of the homicide investigation.
"We don't have any information that would indicate that it was random or drive-by or anything of that type," Vaught says. "It appeared to be two people who were fairly close to one another."
Chief Vaught says the investigation was turned over to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division who charged 22-year-old Kentrell Laquon Hilton with murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and two counts of assault and battery.
Hilton had an initial bond hearing on June 20 where bond was not set. He must appear before another judge before a bond amount can be determined because of the crimes he is charged with.
One witness, who chose not to be identified at the time, said the incident started with a shouting match, and quickly escalated to gun violence.
"They got a gun, then after a while I heard...'pow-pow'," the witness said. "I started to get up and look, and I said ‘nope, [if] I stick my head out there I might get shot'."
Police arrived to the scene to find Miller dead in the yard of a gunshot wound to the chest.
Neighbors like Tyronda Bellamy said Miller used to live nearby, and visited the neighborhood often. Bellamy says she's shocked by Miller's death.
"Nobody deserved that, and my heart goes out to the family," Bellamy said.
Some neighbors living nearby said they believe Maple Street is a safe place. But some, like Travis Gilchrist, said they hope Miller's death is a wake up call for community leaders to do more to keep neighborhoods safe.
"The city should come together or find some kind of funds to build a recreation [center] for the youth around here," Gilchrist said. "That's what we need to keep the streets safe."
Copyright 2013 WMBF News. All rights reserved. WECT contributed to this report.
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