North Charleston police: Man critically wounded while attempting a holdup
If Jessica Lazano had been standing outside her North Charleston home Tuesday as she usually does on sunny afternoons, she doubts she would be alive.
About 5 p.m., she had just returned from shopping at the Piggly Wiggly and had started cooking beef hash with her mother when the first barrage of gunfire rang out. Then the second.
She looked into the parking lot at the Greentree North Apartments and saw someone scampering around her Hyundai sedan. When she walked out, a man was lying still on the sidewalk. Blood had splattered her car’s trunk; a bullet had punched through its hood.
The wounded man had been shot in the back, she said. His arms were at his side; his breathing was slight; he didn’t move.
“I’m lucky we didn’t stay anywhere near the car. I’m lucky my boy wasn’t here playing,” the 31-year-old said. “I’ve never seen anything like. It was a real shootout.”
In all, three people fired more than a dozen shots, according to investigators and witnesses.
Detectives from the North Charleston Police Department planned to charge three people in connection with the gunbattle, including 22-year-old Racarlton Alphonse Scott, who was critically wounded. Investigators said Scott tried to rob a man, who then grabbed his own gun and shot Scott as he tried to get away.
The gunfight started after Scott approached 26-year-old Dwayne Patterson of Hartford Circle, who was visiting the apartment complex with his 4-year-old daughter, according to police. As Patterson loaded the child into his vehicle, the robber demanded his chain, rings, money and cellphone. Then his pants, police said.
A fight started. Patterson suffered a cut on his head when Scott hit him with a handgun, according to police.
“Patterson then reached into his glove box and retrieved his handgun and chased Scott to the side of the building,” police spokesman Spencer Pryor said in a statement. “Scott then turned towards Patterson and fired several shots at Patterson.
“Patterson returned fire, striking Scott.”
Pryor said Jamel Prezzy, 20, of Buskirk Street, joined in and fired shots as Patterson retreated into the apartment unit he had been visiting.
Prezzy then jumped into a Honda driven by 24-year-old Jermaine Venning of Hunters Ridge Lane, Pryor said. They sped away from the scene but were captured by officers at the Fairwind-Oakfield Apartments, a complex adjacent to the shooting scene.
The car bowled over bushes and created ruts in a grassy area during the officers’ pursuit.
Scott, whose address was not provided by North Charleston police, was sent to Medical University Hospital with critical injuries and will be charged once he is stabilized, according to Pryor.
Prezzy faces charges of unlawful carrying of a firearm, two counts of attempted murder, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and discharging a firearm into a dwelling. It is unclear who is considered the second attempted murder victim.
Prezzy has a history of arrests on charges such as pointing and presenting a firearm, assault with intent to kill, shooting into a dwelling and cocaine possession.
Venning faces counts of driving with a suspended license, failure to stop for blue lights and attempted murder for his role as the getaway driver, according to the police.
He has a lengthy arrest record for drug offenses and armed robbery.
“At this time, Patterson does not face any charges,” Pryor said.
The shooting occurred in the back portion of the complex property, which is tucked into trees off Otranto Road in the city’s northern section.
A group of mothers gathered Wednesday outside a building adjacent to the scene. They marveled at how none of their children happened to be outside when the melee began.
One of them, 24-year-old Tracie Washington, pulled her 2-year-old daughter tightly against her leg. They were inside when they heard the shooting.
Washington, a medical student, rushed outside and saw Scott facedown on the pavement. She called 911, but police didn’t arrive for another nine minutes, she said.
“At first I heard about four gunshots, then I heard about 10,” Washington said. “Officers are always here, talking to people. But not then.”
After visiting downtown Charleston with her three children, 22-year-old Jade Kersey returned to the apartment complex minutes after the shooting in front of her home. Officers had cordoned off the area and wouldn’t allow her in.
“We’re all friends here,” Kersey said. “Anybody could have sent their kid back there to get a cup of sugar. Anybody’s child could have got shot.”
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414.