On both sides of shooting case, families lament 'senseless killing' in Awendaw
Half the gunshots that a 19-year-old Awendaw man said he fired earlier this week came as his alleged victim tried to run away from a fight, according to court documents released Wednesday.
At first, Manning Isiah Milligan wasn't directly involved in the skirmish Monday night outside 5449 Seewee Road, witnesses told the Charleston County Sheriff's Office.
But during the fight between Earl Lamar Campbell and another man, Milligan pulled out a .40-caliber pistol and fired at Campbell four times, including two shots while the 33-year-old father of two tried to run away, according to the arrest affidavits.
Those circumstances prompted Milligan's arrest on a murder charge and made it difficult for family members of both the suspect's and the alleged victim's to grasp why the shooting happened.
"It's a senseless killing," Campbell's father, Lawrence Campbell of Columbia, said Wednesday after a bond hearing in the case. "My son was murdered in a way nobody understands. ... As a community, we're all in shock right now. We're hurting on both sides."
By law, the magistrate who presided over the hearing could not set bail for Milligan, who remained Wednesday at Charleston County's jail.
The affidavits explained how the slaying unfolded, but they shed little light on why Campbell was shot or whether Milligan felt threatened during the altercation. They pointed out that Milligan said he never saw a gun in Campbell's hand when he decided to fire.
After deputies explained his right to remain silent, Milligan initially denied having any knowledge of the shooting, but he offered a confession after a few minutes of questioning, the documents stated.
The suspect's mother, Cheryl Whiteside of Awendaw, stood in the courtroom Wednesday and sympathized with Campbell's family. She cried.
Relatives said the two Seewee Road residents knew each other well.
"I can't apologize for my child, and I can't make excuses for him," Whiteside said. "I think he realizes - maybe too late - the error."
In the court documents, sheriff's detectives pieced together a synopsis of what happened before they responded at 10:43 p.m. Monday.
A resident of 5449 Seewee Road, an address on the dirt-surfaced Goodwine Circle that leads off the main road, told deputies that he went inside the home around 9 p.m. Campbell, Gerald Reed Jr. and Donald Capers Jr. were still outside, the affidavits stated.
Reed and Campbell got into a "brief physical altercation," according to the documents, which didn't explain what the fight was about. Milligan got involved when he pulled out a gun and shot at Campbell, Reed told investigators.
Milligan ran to his home and hid the pistol inside an old appliance, where deputies later found the weapon, the paperwork stated.
Meanwhile, responding deputies came across a trail of blood from Campbell's nearby pickup to his body, which lay in the road.
During the hearing Wednesday, Campbell's relatives lamented how he had died.
"The way he was just left there. Nobody's around," his mother, Katherine Campbell, said during the proceeding. "I just want justice. ... That's my only child."
What bothered family members the most was that Campbell will not get another chance to teach his 5- and 6-year-old boys how to play sports or to take them to school each morning.
Campbell's father said he treasured his last conversation with his son a few weeks ago.
"He told me that he loved me," Lawrence Campbell said.
Whiteside, Milligan's mother, told Magistrate Linda Lombard that her son often got caught up in the ways of his peers.
But since she heard about the shooting, Whiteside said she longed to reach out and hug Campbell's mother because she knew "how it is to lose a child." Milligan's sister added that Campbell also was her cousin, so the shooting had left their family "broken."
"I can't change the situation even if I wanted to," Whiteside said. "I just hope God will bring understanding to all of us."
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.