FOREST ACRES, SC — The suspect killed in a shootout at a Forest Acres residence was out on bond awaiting trial for another violent crime at the time of Monday night’s home invasion.
DeShawn T. Patterson, 23, was one of three suspects who entered a home in the 3500 block of Linbrook Drive just before midnight Monday, firing handguns into the air and demanding money, Forest Acres Police Chief Gene Sealy said at a news conference.
Patterson was shot by one of the home’s six occupants in an exchange of gunfire and died at the scene of wounds to the upper body and head, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said.
The two other suspects, both males, fled on foot through several backyards in the area and were last seen jumping a fence along Two Notch Road, Sealy said. They were still at large Tuesday night.
Patterson was out on bond for two November charges of providing false information to police and a breach of peace, as well as a September charge of armed robbery with a deadly weapon, according to a SLED report. All of the charges were pending. Patterson served 30 days on providing false information to police in April 2013 and 60 days for a second DUI.
Several high-profile crimes, in which suspects have been released on bond only to repeat again, have prompted some to call for changes in perceived problems in the judicial system, including how suspects are given bond.
Sealy said the incident began 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 burst in, firing several rounds of gunfire into the air.
“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” who lived in the home, Sealy said, and gunfire was exchanged, killing Patterson.
None of the residents in the rental home was injured, though one was pistol-whipped and treated at the scene, Sealy said. The residents included men and women, several of whom were related, Sealy said. They range in age from 13 to 46, though most were in their 20s.
It was unclear Tuesday whether the home’s residents knew any of the suspects, and the chief called it a random incident at this point.
It also was unclear whether any gang members were involved, Sealy said, noting there was not “any information to corroborate that now; it very well could be.”
Law enforcement officials were still at the Linbrook Drive home late Tuesday afternoon, and the few residents who were out declined to comment.
Forest Acres police are working the case with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, which arrived on the scene first after a 911 call Monday night, Sealy said.
The two at-large suspects were described as two thin black males, one about 6 feet tall in a gray hoodie, the other about 5 feet 8 inches tall and wearing a camouflage jacket, Sealy said. No other details were given.
Forest Acres Neighborhood Association president Frank Dropla said the break-in was expected to be a likely topic of discussion at the group’s Tuesday night meeting. 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 departments 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 cellphone with you,” Dropla said. “I don’t know what more anyone could do for random acts like this.”
Staff writer Chris Winston contributed.