Summerville community honors homicide victim during candlelight vigil
SUMMERVILLE — Red and white candles burned in the evening’s darkness at a Summerville park during a candlelight vigil in honor of a man shot and killed.
About 150 people gathered Saturday evening at Wassamassaw Park off Iris Street, not far from the Robynwyn neighborhood where 36-year-old John Elliot Hancock was gunned down on Oct. 3.
Their hope is to shine some light on Hancock’s death, to find out who killed him, and to stop the violence in their neighborhood.
Hancock was killed outside his mother’s home on Lilac Street. No one has been arrested. Police are searching for answers and have searched homes near the area of the shooting, according to Summerville Police Dept. Capt. Jon Rogers.
“It is a very active investigation,” Rogers told the crowd during the vigil.
S.C. Rep. Seth Whipper has known Hancock’s family his whole life and, as a legislator, represents that section of Summerville.
“John was a loving fellow. I know he cared about his family. He cared about people,” Whipper said during the vigil. “He’s going to be missed.”
The gathering at the park meant a lot to Barbara Williams, Hancock’s sister. She hopes someone in the neighborhood will break the silence.
“There’s somebody that knows more than what they’re saying but I’m just hoping that sooner or later or after tonight that they will say, you know, somebody will pick up the phone, call the cops and let the cops know what they saw and what they know,” she said.
Hancock was with his nephew and his nephew’s girlfriend talking in a parked car outside the home when a car drove by and gunshots rang out, according to family members.
Witnesses told police they saw a mid-size, four-door brown or silver sedan speed away from the area and there were several people inside the car, said Rogers.
His family has said they couldn’t think of any reason why someone would want to hurt Hancock. He was the youngest of five and had a teenage son.
While Williams said it’s too late for her brother, she hopes the turnout at the neighborhood park for the vigil is a sign of a transformation to come.
“Maybe we can change some things. Stop the violence,” she said. “This means were not just going to stop with my brother’s death.”
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.