Batesburg-Leesville police urged a woman who came by their department Monday morning to report a threat from her boyfriend to stay away from work and to take steps to protect herself.
“She reported he had threatened her life and she was scared of him. We advised her of all her options, including not going to work today and possibly moving into Sistercare,” said Batesburg-Leesville Police Chief Wallace Oswald.
The woman, Shaquanah Jones-Brannon, 30, also gave police a full description of Jamael R. Goodman, 27, and the car he drove, a gold-colored Pontiac, Oswald said.
A little later, around 11:30 a.m. Monday, Goodman showed up at China One, 245 W. Columbia Ave., a fast-food place where Jones-Brannon worked.
In a matter of seconds, in front of customers and China One employees, Goodman drew a handgun and shot Jones-Brannon to death, then shot himself fatally, Oswald said.
Goodman had disguised himself by putting his dreadlocks under a skullcap and was driving a green Chevrolet instead of the gold-colored Pontiac Jones-Brannon had told police he drove, Oswald said.
Police tried to take other measures before the shooting to protect Jones-Brannon, the chief said.
“We also went to her aunt’s home and talked to some of her family, but she still insisted on going to work. In the meantime, we were looking for the guy, to talk to him. It threw us off that he had changed his appearance and was driving a different car.”
Police also stationed an officer in a semi-marked car in the parking lot outside China One, but the officer was dispatched to another call just before the shooting, Oswald said.
Lexington County Coroner Harry Harman ruled the shootings a murder-suicide.
Both parties were transported to Lexington Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead, Harman said. Autopsies will be performed today.
The incident is under investigation by the coroner’s office and the Batesburg-Leesville Police Department.
Oswald said he believed Jones-Brannon had children, but he did not think she and Goodman had any together.
Oswald said his advice for women who feel threatened by men in their life is: “Seek all the help you can get — not just the police, but there are other options.”
Sistercare is a Midlands program for women in abusive relationships. It provides a variety of services, including emergency shelters for women who believe their lives are in danger.
South Carolina has one of the nation’s highest rates of men who kill women in domestic relationships.