Forest acres

Forest Acres home invasion was drug-related; two suspects apprehended, a third sought

nophillips@thestate.comJanuary 28, 2014 

— Four people who burst into a Forest Acres house during a fatal home invasion earlier this month had targeted the home because of drugs, police say.

Forest Acres Police Chief Gene Sealy originally had reported the Jan. 20 late-night home invasion as random, saying he did not know of any motive. However, he cited drug activity as the reason Tuesday when he announced the arrest of two people allegedly involved in the home invasion in the 3500 block of Linbrook Drive.

Sealy declined to release further details of the drug activity at the house.

“Whether it was sales or possession, I don’t want to get into that right now,” Sealy said.

Police also originally reported that three people were involved, one of whom was killed in a shootout with a resident.

However, the investigation determined that a fourth person drove a getaway car, Sealy said.

The home invasion happened on a Monday just before midnight when the suspects knocked on the door of the single-family residence. When someone answered, the suspects fired several rounds into the air as they burst inside.

One of the people who lived in the house confronted the burglars and gunfire was exchanged.

Deshawn T. Patterson, 23, was killed. The others escaped, and two of them were captured this week by police.

Ellison Devon Hudson, 26, and Derrid Johnell Leaphart, 23, were charged with first-degree burglary, attempted murder and six counts of kidnapping, the press release said.

Hudson was arrested Monday night after Richland County Sheriff’s deputies apprehended him near Colonial Life Boulevard and Bush River Road. Leaphart was arrested near Old Percival Road and Alpine Road, Sealy said. Sheriff’s deputies also assisted with Leaphart’s arrest, he said.

Investigators have developed a fourth suspect, but Sealy said he was not ready to release that person’s identity.

None of the six men and women who lived in the house was injured. They ranged in ages from 13 to 46.

Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s officers have worked with the Forest Acres Police Department to provide investigative and patrol resources.

The home invasion remains under investigation, Sealy said Tuesday.

Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.

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