SUMMERVILLE — Police say they have no idea why a Texas man chose this normally peaceful town as the place to vent his rage.
Witnesses say Jimi Redman Jr., 32, dressed in military camouflage, shot 57-year-old Lynn Michelle Harrison to death through the driver’s side window of her GMC Terrain near Trolley and Bacons Bridge roads around 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
“It doesn’t appear to be road rage,” Police Capt. Jon Rogers said. “It appears at this point to be just a random act of violence.”
Redman, who is from the Fort Worth area, told a judge during his Friday bond hearing that he suffered a head injury while serving in the military. He appeared on a television screen in the Summerville courtroom by video from the St. George jail.
The Army could not immediately confirm Redman’s record.
Redman’s claim that he was an injured veteran did not impress Harrison’s family.
Harrison’s husband, James Harrison, was shaking with rage and grief and had to be restrained to keep from being ejected from the court.
“You bastard!” he cried. “I was in Vietnam. I am back, and I don’t go around shooting people’s wives. ... You’re a damned disgrace.”
Attempts to get more information about Harrison from her family have been unsuccessful. Family members declined to talk to reporters Thursday night or after the bond hearing.
Harrison was a graduate of Goose Creek High School, according to her Facebook page, and worked at McKesson Corp., a medical billing company with a branch in North Charleston.
Two employees who were at the office Friday afternoon said she had been there for more than 10 years. The employees would not provide their names because they were not authorized to speak on the situation.
Harrison was well-liked by her co-workers and her death hit all of them hard, the employees said.
Supervisors were not available to say more because they were taking the afternoon off to take food to the family, according to the employees.
Redman served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne, according to his brother, Joseph Redman, 31, who also lives in the Fort Worth area. Redman worked as a welder until he quit his job this week, his brother said.
Joseph Redman said his brother had a traumatic brain injury and has tried for the past seven years to get help from the Department of Veterans Affairs but has been rebuffed because of a paperwork glitch.
“If they would have helped the five or six times he went up there and sought help, this likely wouldn’t have happened,” he said.
A VA office in Texas declined to answer questions about the allegations, citing privacy regulations related to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Redman has no previous arrest history in South Carolina, but he has amassed a history of misdemeanor and felony convictions in his home state, including an assault, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
He pleaded guilty to evading detention and second-offense driving while intoxicated after police in Arlington charged him in September 2007. He served 180 days in jail and two years on probation, Texas records showed.
He pleaded guilty to drunken driving a third time after an arrest in January 2009 by Grapevine police. Because of his history, the conviction made him a felon, according to his rap sheet. He was sentenced to two years behind bars.
He also served a day in jail after an assault that injured a family member in March 2013 in Fort Worth, the records showed.
Redman was most recently arrested in Tarrant County on another drunken driving charge, according to court records there. He was free on $5,000 bail as he awaited an April 14 court hearing.
In a letter scrawled from the Tarrant jail in July 2009, Redman asked a judge there to consider releasing him from custody in time to deploy back to Iraq in October of that year. At that point he was in the Army Reserve.
Redman started the letter, a copy of which was provided to The Post and Courier by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, by identifying himself as an Army veteran who’d made his fair share of mistakes in his life.
“I’ve been to war (and) it’s the scariest, craziest place that a person can experience (and) go through,” Redman wrote. “It will change a person real quick. “
Being shot at overseas and having friends lose limbs left Redman traumatized, he said.
“I’ve tasted a lot of blood for my age. I’ve lost people that I love (and) care about when all I was doing was my duty to this country. Some nights I have nightmares of what I’ve seen (and) been through. Just one of these things will change a person forever.”
Redman’s issues were exacerbated by his self-medicating with alcohol, he said.
“I will be the first one to say that I have an alcohol problem to cope with my problems,” Redman wrote. “I will also be the first one to say that I need help with my problems.”
Redman made an appointment to meet with VA officials in March of that year, but he was unable to make it due to an arrest.
Joseph Redman said the last he heard from his brother was a text message Tuesday night saying he had a gun and ammunition and “see you later.” His mother called the Fort Worth police to put out an all-points bulletin. They had no idea Jimi Redman was heading to South Carolina.
His brother said Jimi Redman had a buddy in the state that he might have been looking for.
“Our family shares in the loss of this woman’s family,” Joseph Redman said. “We feel greatly for their loss if we could have caught it and prevented it sooner.”
Magistrate David Whittington denied Jimi Redman’s bond Friday. He is charged with murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
Police released affidavits Friday detailing the arrest. There were reports of Redman screaming and gesturing toward Harrison.
A witness who was behind her vehicle saw a red SUV in the lane to the right. Then she heard a single gunshot.
Officers caught Redman near the scene. In his vehicle, they found a rifle lying on the passenger floorboard. After he was arrested, Redman asked for an attorney.
The witness positively identified Redman as the driver.
The 911 calls, also released Friday, describe a chaotic scene.
One caller reported a man driving all over the middle of the road and had a long gun hanging out the window.
“Then he pulled over and brought his rifle up,” he said. “He was in ... new generation camo that the Army and Marines have adopted in the last few years.”
The caller “saw him cradling a really large rifle.”
A woman called immediately after Harrison was shot. She and others were trying to get into Harrison’s vehicle to help her.
“We tried to open up the window because she got shot. We saw the guy do it,” she said. “We can’t get in the car. She got shot in the neck.” Harrison died at the scene.
Harrison was driving to a nearby lunch date with her son when she was shot to death.
Cleve O’Quinn and Christina Elmore contributed to this report. Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.