Dorchester County’s coroner said a 32-year-old man died after he was shot Monday night in Summerville’s Robynwyn community, but police officials refused to release a report about the incident until they get a chance to interview more witnesses.
Authorities were called to a house on Violet Drive around 11:53 p.m., according to Coroner Chris Nisbet.
Antonio Davis was taken to Medical University Hospital, where he died at 1:42 a.m. Tuesday of a single gunshot wound, Nisbet said.
The coroner has not yet determined whether the shooting was a suicide or a homicide. He didn’t say why they were having difficulty determining the manner of death.
“We are not sure at this time if the shot was self-inflicted or by someone else,” Nisbet said.
The coroner was unsure about where Davis had been living in northern Dorchester County. Court records indicate Davis’ past addresses were in St. George in 2006 and Orangeburg County’s Bowman in 2010.
The Summerville Police Department also is investigating his death, but Capt. Jon Rogers would not provide any public accounting of the shooting.
He said officers had drafted an initial incident report but that investigators needed to interview witnesses before they hand over the document. Such a report usually includes data about who called the authorities, when the police arrived and what they found.
Rogers declined to give a timetable for the document’s release or to state the precise reason for withholding the public information. He wouldn’t discuss whether any curious circumstances about the shooting played into the decision.
“It’s an open and active investigation,” Rogers said in response to questions. “Premature release of the incident report is going to jeopardize the case.”
Under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act, a law agency is required to divulge its crime reports unless it can show that their release would foil a prospective police action.
Rogers wouldn’t detail how the shooting report would do that.
Courts also have ruled that an open investigation is not a valid reason under the FOIA to withhold information.
“The courts have been clear: There’s no exclusion for matters under investigation,” said Bill Rogers, president of the S.C. Press Association, who is not related to the police captain. “It hurts the credibility of the Police Department to be so secretive.”
Summerville police have released reports regarding past incidents in which the investigation was not yet finished. Bill Rogers said the fact that police won’t hand over the report this time poses questions.
“I would be concerned that they’re trying to protect someone,” he said. “It gives the impression that they’re trying to cover something up.”
Natalie Caula contributed to this report. Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.