Many questions remain unanswered in the case of a Columbia teen who was shot and burned in the wooded area of a Harbison-area apartment complex earlier this month.
Just a half-hour before Keon Malik Brantley was captured on April 15 by security cameras leaving his apartment home off Columbiana Drive, he sent out a message through Twitter that said “i jus (sic) want my people straight before i go.”
His body was later found burning in a wooded area near the Paces Brook apartments near the Columbiana Centre shopping center.
Nearly two weeks later, there have been no significant breaks in the 18-year-old’s killing, said Capt, Adam Myrick, spokesman for the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department. His family and friends are speaking with law enforcement, but efforts to reach them for this story were unsuccessful.
But where Brantely was headed that night and why remains unknown.
It was around 9 p.m. when security cameras captured Brantley walking across a parking lot, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, a backpack and carrying a large box. Investigators would later learn the box contained an AK-47 rifle.
“We haven’t determined what he was doing with the gun the night he was killed,” Myrick said. “(E)verything we’ve seen up to this point indicates Keon lawfully purchased the gun.”
Myrick declined to say if the firearm was loaded or if it was fired that night, citing the protection of the investigation. But it was recovered at the crime scene, he said. Brantley’s cell phone was also found.
Other items, however, went – and remain – missing.
The sweatshirt Brantley was wearing and the backpack he was carrying were gone by the time he was found. His shoes, a pair of size 8 Nike Air Foamposites, were also missing.
Myrick declined to speculate what Brantely was doing in the wooded area that is known for being a place where people gather to use drugs. Brantley, a graduate of Irmo High School, had not previously come in contact with law enforcement, Myrick said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 888-CRIME-SC. Callers can leave anonymous tips and could be eligible for a cash reward if the information provided leads to an arrest.