An Orangeburg County woman who fatally shot her boyfriend Sunday was acting in self-defense and won't be charged, Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said Tuesday.

"Based on the evidence at the scene, autopsy results, and witness statements, this victim feared for her life during the physical assault she endured early Sunday morning," Ravenell said in a statement. "This is an example of the domestic violence that is taking place in so many households in our county and we must work collectively to change this epidemic."

South Carolina leads the nation in the number of deaths in domestic disputes. Usually the victim is the woman.

The boyfriend was identified as Jeremy Scott Williamson, 24, of Woodford. He was shot in a house on Woodford Road. Here's what happened, according to investigators.

Williamson became enraged after looking in his girlfriend's purse and finding papers where he was listed as a suspect for a crime in another jurisdiction. They started arguing, and he wouldn't let her call her mother to come pick her up. She ran out in the yard but he dragged her back inside, where he hit her in the back of the head and threw her to the floor. Williamson's grandfather came out of a bedroom and told his grandson to stop and get out of the house. Meanwhile, the woman found a handgun. Williamson charged at her, and she shot him in the abdomen.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.