Ty'Quan Murrell President was having a typical day for a 16-year-old, but it was a good day.



To hear a 911 call related to the shooting, go to postandcourier.com/audio.


For a map of tri-county homicides since 2001, go to postandcourier.com/homicides.

He returned home from his first day of school after spring break. His mother asked what food he wanted to eat, what clothes he wanted washed.

But the weather was nice Monday. President was eager to jump on the 21-speed Hyper Havoc mountain bike he got for Christmas and go riding with his friends in North Charleston.

Around 4 p.m., President and three of his friends biked to the Dorchester-Waylyn community and played basketball with his cousin. They pedaled through Dorchester Terrace, another neighborhood close to his own.

But when a vehicle stopped near their bicycles around 6 p.m., the teenagers' day took a horrifying turn. Someone got out and fired a handgun at President's group.

One of them was hit in the leg, but he would survive. Bullets struck President's arm and the left side of his chest, near his heart.

He stumbled down the street and collapsed. The boy, a student at Garrett Academy of Technology, would die minutes later.

A day later, the family members who had vowed not to let street violence take President asked why it had taken him anyway.

"Someone else in his company must have brought something horrible on them," his aunt, Latoasha Mazyck of North Charleston, said Tuesday. "You should be able to ride a bike through a neighborhood without getting shot."

The North Charleston Police Department was still investigating Tuesday what might have sparked the gunfire on Sorentrue Avenue. Spokesman Spencer Pryor would not confirm whether detectives were looking into gang activity.

Officers arrested Samuel Eugene Bolger, 21, of Cosgrove Avenue on charges of murder and attempted murder but didn't say whether he was the suspected triggerman.

Bolger has a conviction for unlawfully carrying a firearm. Armed robbery and weapons possession charges against Bolger remain pending.

The police caught up to him around noon Tuesday at a home on Harvey Avenue, two blocks from where President was slain.

'Considering his future'

President's death was the sixth homicide reported this year in North Charleston.

It happened in a community near where the police said a boy, 13, shot a 14-year-old in December during a dispute over rival gangs, the "Young Goons" and the "Young Gunnas."

President called his group of friends "40 Boiz" on his Facebook page. He had told relatives before his death that the crew wasn't a gang, they said. To his aunt, it was an outlet, an escape from the criminal element that young boys are exposed to in the communities they call home.

They went fishing together and got rides to the beach. They played laser tag and basketball.

President liked plucking oysters from the creek behind his home in Horizon Village off Rivers Avenue.

He ran into his share of trouble at school, where he excelled in welding classes, his aunt said. He had been suspended a few times.

But he recently got his first job at a car wash. He was making money of his own and thinking about a career in the U.S. Merchant Marine after graduation.

"He was considering his future already," his grandmother, Karen Mazyck, said. "He didn't like the street life. He liked to come home and go to sleep at night."

'Something to prove'

President's relatives didn't delve into what might have prompted the gunfire. But they said one of his friends had taken something from someone in another group - a move that stoked anger.

The site of the shooting at Sorentrue Avenue and Accabee Road was quiet Tuesday. A landscaping crew mowed a lawn on the corner. The only sign of the crime was the yellow police tape discarded in a dumpster.

A day earlier, a gold-color sport utility vehicle pulled up near President and the other teenagers on bicycles, the police said. A man in a red hat got out and started shooting before fleeing toward Dorchester Avenue.

Charles James, 17, of Meridian Road suffered a leg wound.

With two gunshot wounds, President fell outside a vacant home at 2329 Sorentrue Ave. His friends tried to stop his bleeding. One of them called 911.

"Wake up, man," someone said in the call. "Come on, man."

Police officers soon did CPR. But he was pronounced dead within a half-hour at Medical University Hospital.

Residents like Troy Smith's grandmother said they had heard a half-dozen gunshots. She stayed inside their home on Sorentrue Avenue and tended to Smith's toddler.

Smith, 28, came home a few minutes later. He saw President lying outside the house across the street. Other teens cried over him.

A hip-hop promoter, Smith said he often uses music and his job as a radio disc jockey to sway youths from a life of violence. He shook his head at the scene that had unfolded near the yard where he played with his son a day later.

"These kids get each other to do dumb stuff like this," he said. "It's like they have something to prove. But that's going to cost them their life or their life in prison."

'Battle to stay true'

Inside President's home two miles away on Whipper Barony Lane, friends and family members consoled his mother.

His aunt and his grandmother stood outside and talked about the boy born on Halloween. They called him "our treat, not our trick," his aunt said.

Family was important to President. And that family, his aunt added, tried to teach him that crime wasn't "just another stripe" of honor.

"He struggled like any kid," Latoasha Mazyck said. "He battled against the streets. Like any kid here, he had to battle to stay true to who he was, not to the company he kept."

President's mother stayed inside the home where she often welcomed his son's friends for a meal and washed his clothes.

She didn't get a chance to do the laundry President left Monday. She heard about the shooting less than two hours after he left home.

"So she's in there right now," his aunt said, "and she's washing his clothes."

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.