A 13-year-old Ladson boy fended off two would-be burglars by using his mother’s gun to protect himself while home alone Tuesday.
He killed one of them in an exchange of gunfire, and the second suspect was later arrested, according to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.
Lamar Anthwan Brown, 31, of Summerville, died at Trident Medical Center of gunshot wounds, according to Charleston County Chief Deputy Coroner Bobbi Jo O'Neal. He was dropped off at the hospital by the second suspect, Ira Bennett, after fleeing the Elderwood Drive home where the shooting took place, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Bennett, 28, of Kent Avenue in North Charleston has been charged with first-degree burglary and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
The boy was not injured in the shootout, and his mother said she is just thankful he is all right.
“I’m speechless right now,” she told The Post and Courier after the incident. “Who knows how this would have turned out.”
The newspaper is not identifying any family members because the boy is a minor.
The attempted burglary unfolded just before 1:30 p.m. at the Woodside neighborhood residence, where the boy said he became suspicious after seeing a vehicle pull up behind the house, according to an arrest affidavit.
The boy saw a man try to break into the back of the home, "at which time he feared for his safety" and grabbed his mother's pistol, the document states. He began firing at the man, and the Sheriff's Office reported that the man returned fire.
The two suspects then fled, and as they drove away, the boy continued shooting at them, according to the affidavit.
Brown had been shot three times, and Bennett drove him to the hospital. The gray Chevy Sonic they were in had bullet holes in it, the affidavit states.
Bennett allegedly told officials that someone shot at his vehicle while driving on the interstate.
While investigating after the shooting, deputies found a Colt .45 pistol in the backyard of the Ladson home where Brown and Bennett tried to break in, according to the affidavit. The pistol did not belong to the boy's family.
Both Bennett and Brown have extensive criminal histories, according to a check with the State Law Enforcement Division. Bennett has been convicted of assault with intent to kill, pointing a firearm at a person and third-degree burglary. He has also been convicted of possession of a controlled substance, manufacturing and distributing a controlled substance and possession of marijuana.
Brown's convictions included six felony drug charges. He had also been convicted of unlawful carrying of a weapon, disorderly conduct and trespassing.
The boy’s mother said that she had the gun at the house for protection, but she had never trained her son to use it.
“I tell my kids that if anything ever happens to call 911, but I also tell them to protect themselves if they have to,” she said. “I never would have dreamed that this would have been a part of our day today.”
She said she was at work in Moncks Corner when the attempted burglary occurred and that her son called her afterward and she told him to call police. He is home during the day, usually with other family members present, because he attends an online public school.
The boy was too shy to comment Tuesday about what happened, his mother said.
Neighbor Debbie Griffin said she called police after hearing about six shots ring out. She added that her son was outside at the time and heard more shots and witnessed the attempted burglary. He told her he saw the suspects’ car parked behind the house.
“I don’t know really what happened, but it kind of scared me,” Griffin said. “It was a little close.”
The boy’s mother described him as a good kid who is quiet and listens well. She said he only opens up to family and that he told her he wished the shooting never happened.
She added that the incident makes her want to move from the home where they’ve lived since May, but she didn’t want to make any rash decisions for her family.
“I’m always scared; there’s so much going on all the time in Charleston,” she said. “All I can do is continue to pray and hope it gets better.”
Reach Melissa Boughton at (843)937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.