Elaine Ancrum doesn’t know why her 21-year-old son would drive down Dingle Road, which ends in a secluded wooded area near Mount Pleasant, she said Thursday.
But that’s where Solomon Junior Ancrum, who she regarded as a kind-hearted “mama’s boy,” was found dead behind the wheel of the Buick Century he had been driving Wednesday.
He had been shot around 10:50 a.m., two hours before he was scheduled to show up for work at the Marriott in downtown Charleston. The North Charleston resident had no reason to be in the community near Highways 17 and 41, his mother said.
“Somebody had to call him to go down that road,” she said. “He didn’t know anybody over there. ... I don’t understand why this happened.”
Though Ancrum had been convicted twice of marijuana possession and once was accused of trying to sell the drug, his mother said he had been working diligently and had no extra money for such illicit ventures. Child support for his 5-year-old daughter, she said, was taken out of his paycheck from the hotel.
The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office has not indicated whether drugs might have played a role in the shooting. Chief Inspector Chris Brokaw reported no new developments Thursday.
After the gunfire, three men were seen running away from Ancrum’s sedan, but authorities did not catch them.
Ancrum’s criminal history contains two misdemeanor convictions for having a small amount of marijuana and a pending felony charge of possession with the intent to distribute.
A resident of his mother’s home on Bailey Drive in the Dorchester Terrace community, Ancrum developed a rap sheet starting in December 2009.
In his first run-in with the North Charleston Police Department, a loss-prevention officer at the Walmart at Tanger Outlets reported seeing him stuff an electronics cable into his pocket.
When he was confronted, an incident report stated, Ancrum offered to pay for the $50 item that allows users to connect an Apple iPod’s display to a bigger screen.
A judge later acquitted him of shoplifting.
More than two years later, he would face the most serious criminal charge of his lifetime.
In March 2012, a police officer reported that Ancrum had been sitting inside a silver Buick Century parked in a vacant lot on Bailey Drive. When the officer approached, Ancrum got out and started walking across the street, an incident report stated.
He told the officer that he had been playing basketball with area friends — a past-time that his mother said was one of his favorites.
A search of Ancrum’s pants pocket revealed a plastic bag that the lawman thought smelled like marijuana.
A similar smell wafted from the Buick, so the police searched the car, too. In an overhead compartment, they reported coming across a bag with eight smaller bags packed with about a half ounce of marijuana.
A year later, on March 23, the police stopped his green Buick for failing to yield to traffic.
An officer and his partner again reported picking up a hint of marijuana. When they searched the car, they discovered a burned marijuana cigar and two small pieces of the drug in Ancrum’s pockets.
His last arrest came May 3, when North Charleston officers stopped the green Buick on suspicion that its window tint was too dark. They reported that it was 18 percent, below the state limit of 27 percent.
But the officers also spotted a marijuana stem near the handle of Ancrum’s door.
He denied having marijuana and told the police that he had learned a lesson when he was arrested a few weeks earlier, an incident report stated.
But a search of the car revealed the burned remains of marijuana joints under a floor mat, on a floorboard and in the trunk.
The Buick he had been driving before his two arrests this year belonged to his mother, according to the reports. On Wednesday, in a turnaround area on Dingle Road, authorities removed his body from its driver’s seat and towed away the car so they could further examine it for evidence.
The next day, Elaine Ancrum tried to make sense of her son’s violent death.
She last saw him Tuesday, when he grabbed a bite to eat and left to spend the night with his girlfriend, she said. The next morning, his mother added, he dropped off his girlfriend for work on Daniel Island.
He had some time to spare before he was due at his own job. What might have happened during that time perplexed his mother.
“To someone who might know about it, I pray to God they come forward and say something,” she said. “This shouldn’t happen.”
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.