Woman was fatally shot during home invasion in Red Top, coroner confirms

Three masked men wanted money when they kicked their way into a Red Top mobile home Saturday morning and fatally shot a 27-year-old woman as her children slept, deputies reported.

To offer tips

Anyone with information about the shooting can call the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office at 202-1700 or Crime Stoppers at 554-1111.

Two robbers with rifles broke into 3786 Greenland Road in the neighborhood north of Johns Island just after 2 a.m. A third had a handgun.

As they looked for money, the robbers held one resident at bay during the 20-minute ordeal and dragged his sister, Donnetta Heyward, outside. She was shot in the pelvis and hip area.

Her brother and deputies who responded to the call were not immediately aware of how serious her injuries were, according to 911 and radio communications obtained Monday through a S.C. Freedom of Information Act request.

She later died at a hospital.

Deputy Coroner Jill Farman confirmed Monday that Heyward died of a gunshot wound, but Farman would not say how many times the woman was hit.

Deputies had not made any arrests, Maj. Eric Watson said Monday.

Heyward became the third woman to fall victim to homicide in Charleston County already this year. Of the 46 people slain in the tri-county area in all of 2013, 12 were women.

Watson pointed out that no evidence linked the Red Top slaying to two shootings on New Year’s Day that killed two North Charleston women.

Both siblings have brief criminal histories.

Donnetta Heyward served two years on probation stemming from a May 2007 arrest for felony cocaine possession and a misdemeanor charge of possessing marijuana.

Her brother, 26-year-old Wadel Heyward, was convicted of a felony strong-arm robbery in February 2005. He was fined for misdemeanor marijuana possession in February 2010 and convicted on a February 2013 misdemeanor charge of criminal domestic violence.

About 2:10 a.m. Saturday, Wadel Heyward was sleeping on the sofa when he heard a crash near the back kitchen door, he later told deputies. Three men in black clothes burst in.

“Where is the money?” the robbers asked, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

One of the men started hitting Wadel Heyward with the butt of his gun, an incident report stated. He suffered minor cuts on the top of his head, deputies noted.

“They had masks on,” he later told a 911 dispatcher. “They knocked me a couple times in the head.”

Two of the invaders grabbed his sister from a bedroom and dragged her outside through the living room door. That’s when Wadel Heyward said he heard two or three gunshots.

Donnetta Heyward crawled back inside seconds later, telling her brother that she had been shot in the leg.

The men searched the home from room to room, but they took only Wadel Heyward’s $200 LG cellphone, he told deputies.

The burglars fled through the back door.

The incident ended about 2:30 a.m., according to the report’s estimates.

Without his cellphone, Wadel Heyward said he had to run across a field and borrow a phone to call 911.

Deputies arrived four minutes later, about 2:42 a.m., to find Donnetta Heyward lying on the floor and complaining of a gunshot wound, although deputies said they couldn’t find where the woman had been hit.

“You need EMS?” a deputy is heard asking in the 911 call.

She died of her wounds later that morning at Medical University Hospital. Her brother was treated for his cuts at St. Francis Hospital.

Her two children, a 1-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, stayed in a back bedroom throughout the ordeal, according to the report. They were not hurt.

The robbers were gone by the time deputies arrived, according to Watson.

All are believed to be black. One of them was about 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, Watson said. One was about 6-foot and 210 pounds. The third was about 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds.

Police dogs sniffed the area, but they did not find any suspects.

Deputies said a late-model green Honda sedan had been seen in the area before the home invasion. It also was spotted leaving the community after the shots were fired, Watson said.

Authorities reported that the Honda had no wheel rims and a loud muffler.

Christina Elmore contributed to this report. Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.

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