Shootout a scene of chaos; 911 tapes reveal fear for safety
A dozen gunshots.
A little girl yells, “Mama!”
A parent screams, “Get on the ground!”
A woman cries about bullet holes in her window.
Someone tries to help a man bleeding on the pavement.
The nearly 20 calls to 911 portray a chaotic and frightening experience for men, women and children who witnessed or heard a gunbattle this week in North Charleston.
“There's shooting going on up in here. They're running all over out there, shooting right by my house,” says one woman who called after what police said was a robbery resulted in several volleys. “Good God. ... They're shooting again.”
The callers exclaim that children had been playing outside when the bullets started to fly after 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Greentree North Apartments off Otranto Road. Residents ran and ducked into their homes, covering their loved ones. In another 911 call, an off-duty deputy expresses concern for their safety.
“I got my kids in the kitchen laying down. ... This is crazy!” one mother tells a dispatcher just as a dozen more shots are heard. “They're shooting again. ... Stay on the ground!”
The Post and Courier obtained the recordings Thursday through a Freedom of Information Act request. Also obtained were court affidavits that partially explain what roles four men played in the gunfight that ignited when a man retaliated against a suspected robber.
Racarlton Alphonse Scott, 22, who was recently released from prison, was critically wounded after the police said he approached a man visiting the complex and demanded some personal items, including his chain and pants.
As Scott retreated, the robbery victim, 26-year-old Dwayne Patterson of North Charleston, retrieved his own handgun from his vehicle's glovebox, investigators said.
Scott pulled the trigger first, according to the police. Patterson returned fire and shot Scott several times.
Patterson does not face charges “at this time,” police spokesman Spencer Pryor has said. Attempts to reach Patterson Thursday were not successful.
“He just shot him like three or four times, then stood over him and shot him four more times,” a witness says in a 911 recording. “He's still shooting in the back of the building.”
Jamel Antonio Prezzy, 20, of Sumner Avenue, a friend of Scott, then joined in, police said, pointing a .40-caliber pistol at Patterson and one other person the police didn't identify. Investigators have said that Patterson was putting his 4-year-old daughter in his vehicle at the time he was robbed.
“He's around here pointing a gun at a baby,” a caller tells a dispatcher.
Patterson took cover inside an apartment, but Prezzy kept shooting at him, the affidavits say. Two bullets broke through a window and lodged in a home occupied by a woman and two children.
Crying to a dispatcher, the woman demanded police presence before she would emerge from her home.
“There's a bullet hole in my window. They shot out my window. I'm so scared,” she says. “When are they coming? When are they coming?”
After the gunfire subsided, Prezzy jumped into a Honda that sped over grass to a neighboring apartment complex.
Jermaine Richard Venning, 24, of Hunters Ridge Lane, was driving the Honda, which later tried to ram a responding police cruiser, according to an arrest affidavit. A North Charleston Police Department officer had stopped his car and got out when the Honda swerved into the oncoming lane toward the officer, the affidavit states.
The officer “had to jump up onto his vehicle to avoid being hit,” it says. Venning “then fled on foot after the vehicle lost control and crashed into some bushes.”
Venning was captured when he was found hiding under a bed in a stranger's apartment. He faces charges of attempted murder and failure to stop for blue lights.
The court documents say that a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum was found in the Honda, and that Prezzy claimed ownership of the weapon.
Prezzy faces two counts of attempted murder, possession a firearm in the commission of a violent crime, illegally carrying a firearm and discharging into a dwelling.
A judge set his bond at $425,000 and Venning's at $250,000.
Scott remains at Medical University Hospital, and the authorities haven't finalized the charges against him.
The three suspects in the shooting all have criminal histories, according to the State Law Enforcement Division. Patterson does not.
The police said no one else was hurt, though vehicles and buildings were struck by bullets. Dispatchers had instructed the callers to stay inside and lock their doors.
“There was a whole bunch of people outside, but I got them inside,” one 911 caller says. “We had a lot of kids. We had a little program going on.”
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414