Man found shot to death in North Charleston’s Park Circle

GRACE BEAHM/STAFF Loved ones embrace outside The Sparrow, a bar on East Montague Avenue near Park Circle in North Charleston, where the body of Eric Brantley was found early Wednesday morning.

A 43-year-old man was found shot to death early Wednesday after his shift at a nearby Park Circle bar.

The Charleston County Coroner’s Office identified him as Eric Brantley of Charleston. He died of a gunshot wound, according to Deputy Coroner Sara Senn.

Brantley had been working Tuesday night at The Sparrow, a bar across from North Charleston High School. Friends and co-workers said Brantley was a bartender during large events, such as Tuesday’s Battle of the Bands. The bar is expected to be closed Thursday to give employees time to grieve.

Details about Brantley’s death have not yet been released, but a fire department official said in a radio call that they heard the shooting the night before finding his body. A fire station is adjacent to the parking lot where Brantley was found.

“We heard it last night but we didn’t see anything, and then one of the guys found him this morning,” the official said.

Dispatch officials also reported receiving a call at 3:25 a.m. from someone who heard six gunshots.

Officers and crime-scene investigators were working Wednesday behind The Sparrow, which has its entrance on Chateau Avenue. The area is a popular spot for bars and eateries. Staff were obviously upset as they stood outside the business and a tow truck hauled away a nearby motorcycle.

Brantley was known for his love of bikes and specialized in repairing, maintaining and restoring Japanese motorcycles built before 1979, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Local comedian Jeremy McLellan is one of many who knew Brantley.

“He was a fixture in the Charleston arts scene, a really talented musician and artist,” McLellan said. “Everybody knew him and loved him. I always ran into him at shows, especially at The Sparrow, and he was super funny and kind. I can’t believe anyone would do that.”

It was the 12th homicide recorded this year in the city and the 21st in the tri-county area.

Dave Munday, Andrew Knapp and Paul Bowers contributed to this report. Reach Melissa Boughton at 843-937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.