Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White stood in a courtroom Wednesday as his relatives lamented the slaying of his brother, allegedly at the hands of a family member.
White spoke only with his mother during the bond hearing for Darnell Claven Lafayette, 23, who faces a murder charge in the death of 21-year-old Tyrone Moore Jr.
Moore was shot twice in the back early Saturday outside The Lake House Club on James Island.
His family members said Wednesday that the suspect and the victim were cousins.
"They didn't know they were fighting their own family," Moore's father, Tyrone Moore Sr., said after the hearing. "We just hope and pray that we can get everyone to come together and stop all this bickering."
Moore's father said he didn't know of any particular dispute between his son and Lafayette, who also is related to the man who operates the nightclub on Mosquito Beach Road. Arrest affidavits also shed no further light on what led to the confrontation.
White, the NFL football player, and his mother left the courthouse through a back door. The family members stepped into a sport-utility vehicle with a Falcons decal on the rear window and left.
They did not comment further about their ordeal.
Lafayette remained in jail on a charges of murder and possessing a firearm in a violent crime. A magistrate cannot set a bail amount during the initial hearing for a murder suspect.
As he appeared by videoconferencing, the Sol Legare Road resident asked for a chance to speak out, but his attorney, David Aylor of Charleston, stopped him.
Aylor said Lafayette does not have a history of violent crimes. An assault charge against him in a 2011 incident in which deputies said he shot his brother in the leg had been dropped.
His misdemeanor convictions amounted to unlawfully carrying a firearm and malicious injury to animals.
The attorney later expressed skepticism of the evidence collected by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office. His client's arrest was based on eyewitness accounts, and Aylor mentioned a recent case in which a man charged with fatally punching another in downtown Charleston had been wrongly accused.
Lafayette, a Trident Technical College student employed by a local company, had been interviewed by sheriff's deputies before his arrest around noon Tuesday, he said.
"We've seen in the past that eyewitness accounts are not always consistent, not always reliable," Aylor said. "It's important for people to withhold judgment until the case unfolds."
Sheriff's officials said witnesses identified Lafayette as the man who fired a .380-caliber pistol three times before 3 a.m. Saturday outside the nightclub. Two bullets hit Moore.
People in a crowd that amassed after the gunfire did not initially step forward and tell authorities who might have been the gunman.
In 911 calls released Wednesday under a S.C. Freedom of Information Act request, three people described hearing gunshots but not seeing the shooter. Moore, who was bleeding from two wounds in his back, was not responsive, they said.
"I didn't see nothing," one man told a dispatcher. "I haven't the slightest idea."
The alleged gunman's attorney Wednesday extended the Lafayette family's condolences. None of them spoke during the hearing. One wore a San Diego Chargers football jersey.
"These are all young men," Aylor said. "It's a terrible situation all the way around."
Moore's mother struggled to make sense about why someone would resort to gun violence in settling a conflict. She expressed a desire to ask Lafayette that question, though she acknowledged a magistrate who said the suspect could not be compelled to answer.
Joenethia White said her son hadn't bothered anyone during his relatively short life.
"It hurts to know that someone could actually shoot my son for no reason," she said. "My son is a sweet, loving person."
Other family members of the victim's, including two of his aunts and his grandmother, stood and expressed the same emotion.
One of the aunts, Terry Moore, said the slaying had deeply rattled the family. The victim's parents cannot sleep at night, she said. They pace the floor and ask themselves the same questions that they asked in the courtroom.
"The Lafayette family is our family, whether they know it or not," she said. "Why can't the children get along? Why are they not at peace no more?"
Another aunt, Felicia White, said Moore was the youngest of his group of grandchildren. His death broke a circle among loved ones, she added.
"Why ... did he feel that he just had to do it that way?" she said. "Was there any other way - fight him or leave him alone? But he did it senselessly."
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.
Tyrone Moore Jr. in an udated family photo. He was shot and killed outside a James Island nightculb Saturday. May 17, 2014. (Provided/ The White family)×
Darnell Lafayette, 23, of Sol Legare Road was arrested in the fatal shooting of 21-year-old Tyrone Moore Jr. (CANNON DETENTION CENTER/PROVIDED)×
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (left) and his mother, Joenethia White, leave Charleston County Centralized Bond Hearing Court after a hearing for Darnell Lafayette, who faces a murder charge in the shooting death of Roddy White's brother, Tyrone Moore Jr., on Saturday outside The Lake House Club on Mosquito Beach Road on James Island. (ANDREW KNAPP/STAFF)×
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