Crime & Courts

Gang dispute over ‘Boost the Murder Rate’ video leaves 2 dead in Midlands, cops say

Gang activity in South Carolina: It is a problem

The annual Gang Conference started today with hundreds of law enforcement officers from around the state attending the South Carolina Gang Investigator's Association convention this week in Myrtle Beach. Monday through Thursday, members will atten
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The annual Gang Conference started today with hundreds of law enforcement officers from around the state attending the South Carolina Gang Investigator's Association convention this week in Myrtle Beach. Monday through Thursday, members will atten

The shooting that killed two Midlands men and injured three others was the fallout from a music video, the Sumter Police Department said.

A rap video titled “Boost the Murder Rate” caused tensions to boil over between rival gangs, police said in a news release.

Officers are searching for suspects in the Sunday shooting that killed Sumter residents Gregory Middleton and Michael Rogers, according to a news release. Two other men are in critical condition and remain in a Columbia hospital, while a 19-year-old was treated and released, police said.

keyonte McGee.jpg
The Sumter Police Department is searching for Keyonte Markees McGee in connection to two deaths. Sumter Police Department

ellquin Williams.jpg
The Sumter Police Department is searching for Ellquin Carban Williams in connection to two deaths. Sumter Police Department

Devante Wilson.jpg
The Sumter Police Department is searching for Devante Antonio Wilson in connection to two deaths. Sumter Police Department

Police are searching for three men associated with the gangs that have been called persons of interest in the shooting. All three are wanted on charges from other crimes, police said.

The shooting occurred at about 1 a.m. at The Hop In (Sunoco) Convenience Store in the 1000 block of Broad Street, according to the news release.

The convenience store/gas station is in a densely packed area near the Sumter Mall, filled with restaurants and retail businesses.

Sumter County Coroner Robbie Baker said Middleton, 30, died at the convenience store, while the Rogers, also 30, died at an area hospital.

Police spokeswoman Tonyia McGirt said a person of interest being sought in connection to the murder investigation appeared in “Boost the Murder Rate.”

The hip hop video sparked the gangs to target each other in a series of crimes, beginning with robberies before escalating to Sunday’s shooting, according to the news release.

Police said persons of interest they are searching for are Sumter residents Keyonte Markees McGee, Ellquin Carban Williams, and Devante Antonio Wilson.

“They may or may not have had a role in the shooting,” McGirt said in an interview with The State, calling the rivalry “an ongoing battle between gangs.”

The 27-year-old McGee is also wanted on a family court bench warrant, police said.

Only 18, Williams is wanted for discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle, police said.

Wilson, 21, is wanted on multiple charges, including first-degree attempted armed robbery, and discharging a firearm into a dwelling, according to the news release.

Police are offering a reward up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest, as they and the coroner’s office continue to investigate.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or report it to CrimeStoppers at 888-CRIME-SC or submit an online tip.

Autopsies for Middleton and Rogers are scheduled for Tuesday at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, according to the coroner’s office.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
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