Crime & Courts

He fired at a man and missed. The bullet hit a pregnant woman instead, SC prosecutor says

Benjamin Blake
Benjamin Blake 14th Circuit Solicitor's Office

A South Carolina man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for nearly killing a pregnant woman when he fired several shots at a man with whom he had an ongoing disagreement.

Benjamin Jerome Blake, 30, was found guilty Wednesday in Hampton County Circuit Court on charges of attempted murder, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, according to a release from the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. A judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison.

The shooting happened at Fairwood Apartments in Estill on Nov. 9, 2015.

Prosecutors say the female victim was outside her home in the apartment complex talking to a friend who was seated in a parked car. Blake, who lived with his father in a home behind the complex, walked past them and continued toward Estill First Baptist Church.

Moments later, the victim and her friend heard several gunshots, and the victim felt a burning sensation under her left arm, prosecutors said.

Investigators later learned that Blake confronted a man near the church with whom he had “a running disagreement,” according to the solicitor’s office. During the argument, Blake pulled a .380-caliber handgun and fired at least four shots at the man as his intended victim tried to run away.

Blake didn’t hit his intended target, prosecutors said. But one of the shots hit the pregnant mother, who was airlifted to Savannah Memorial Hospital, where her baby was delivered by Cesarean section about two weeks prematurely.

“This is a perfect example of why this sort of senseless violence cannot be tolerated,” said Hunter Swanson of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “This woman and her unborn child could easily have lost their lives, all because Benjamin Blake wanted to settle a score with a gun.”