FOREST ACRES, SC — A home invasion turned deadly for one of three armed suspects who burst into a Forest Acres home Monday night and exchanged gunfire with one of the residents there.
The suspect who died was identified as DeShawn T. Patterson, 23, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said.
Two other suspects fled the scene and remain at large Tuesday afternoon, according to Forest Acres Police Chief Gene Sealy.
Patterson died at the scene of the home invasion in the 3500 block of Linbrook Drive of gunshot wounds to the upper body and head, Watts said. Law enforcement officials were still at the home late Tuesday afternoon, crime scene tape visible across the home’s front yard.
Sealy said during a news conference earlier in the day that the incident began shortly before midnight Monday, when Patterson and two companions knocked on the door of the single-family residence. When one of the six occupants answered the door, the three broke in, brandishing pistols, firing several rounds into the air and demanding money.
“As two of the suspects moved to the rear of the home with one of the individuals in the house, they were confronted by another person, the homeowner. At this time a shootout ensued between the homeowner and one of the suspects.” Sealy said. The house was being rented, he said.
None of the home’s residents was injured though one was pistol-whipped and treated at the scene, Sealy said. The residents included young adult men and women, several of whom were related, though Sealy did not provide ages.
It was unclear Tuesday whether the home’s residents knew any of the suspects, and the chief is calling the incident random at this point. Sealy also said it was unclear whether any gang members were involved.
“We don’t have any information to corroborate that now; it very well could be,” Sealy said.
Patterson, one of the suspects, was out on bond for a November charge of providing false information to police and a September charge of armed robbery with a deadly weapon. He served 30 days on providing false information to police in April 2013 and 60 days for a second DUI.
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department arrived on the scene first, Sealy said, after a 911 call was received shortly before midnight. The department is still working the case with Forest Acres police.
The two suspects, both black males, were last seen hopping a fence on Two Notch Road, Sealy said. The Forest Acres Neighborhood Association was to hold its semi-monthly meeting Tuesday night, and board president Frank Dropla said the break-in would likely be a topic of discussion there. It already had generated attention on the association’s Facebook page, along with a Saturday break-in at a CVS pharmacy store nearby.
Representatives of the Forest Acres Police and Richland County Sheriff’s Department regularly attend the association meetings to answer questions about crime incidents and to provide tips about home safety, Dropla said.
“We do that at every meeting to make people aware of the possibilities, to say, go to the door and have your cell phone with you,” Dropla said. “I don’t know what more anyone could do for random acts like this.”
Staff writer Chris Winston contributed.