Suspect in quadruple homicide in Orangeburg County still sought

Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office and the State Law Enforcement Division investigate the scene near a home just outside of Holly Hill where four people were found shot to death and an 8-year-old wounded Wednesday.

HOLLY HILL — The father of three children — two of whom were killed and the third wounded — in the Orangeburg County shootings was arrested Thursday on drug charges, according to officials.

Christopher Wright, 36, of 7050 Old State Road, where the killings of two adults and two teenagers took place, has been charged on two outstanding State Law Enforcement Division warrants with trafficking methamphetamine. Orangeburg County sheriff’s deputies served the warrants Thursday while interviewing him.

A bond hearing for Wright is tentatively scheduled at 2:30 p.m. Friday at the Orangeburg County Law Enforcement Complex, 1520 Ellis Ave.

Authorities also arrested Robert Bailey, 35, also know as “Pockets,” of Old Highway Number Six, Eutawville, on a charge of unlawful carrying of a pistol, sheriff’s warrants on manufacturing marijuana, possession of cocaine, and an outstanding traffic violation of driving under suspension.

Sheriff’s officials did not know late Thursday if the pistol was connected to the homicides.

“These arrests are the indirect result of our extensive and ongoing investigation into this horrific incident,” said Sheriff Leroy Ravenell in a Thursday media release. “As I stated on Wednesday, we are not going to stop until we have any and everyone involved in custody to face this heinous crime.”

The drug charges against the men are unrelated to Wednesday’s homicides that included Wright’s two children, Tamara Perry, 14, and Shamekia Sanders, 17. Wright’s 8-year-old boy was also shot, but survived. He has been taken to a secure location where he remains in critical condition after suffering a gunshot wound, officials said.

Krystal Hutto was also killed in the shootings, along with another man, 50-year-old Jerome Butler, whose relationship to everyone remains unknown.

The four victims died of gunshot wounds to the head, according to Orangeburg County Coroner Samuetta Marshall.

It has not been released where the 8-year-old was shot and it is unknown how many times each victim was shot.

Numerous family members have identified Hutto as Wright’s fiancee and said she also lived at the home.

Authorities were called to the brown, single-story home at 6:48 a.m. by an unidentified male who informed them of the shootings, Ravenell said. The residence sits along U.S. Highway 176, surrounded by tall pine trees. It is just west of Holly Hill, a community about 60 miles northwest of Charleston near the intersection of Interstates 95 and 26.

Ravenell said that when authorities arrived about 15 minutes later, they found Butler’s body outside in the yard, Hutto’s body in one room inside and the bodies of Perry and Sanders in another room inside. The 8-year-old was found in the same room as the two girls.

Sanders was a rising senior at Lake Marion High School and Perry had just transferred out of Orangeburg Consolidated School District Three and was a rising eighth-grader, according to Superintendent Dr. Jesulon Gibbs-Brown.

She said that the district is not in session, but that “everyone is deeply touched and saddened” by the death of the girls. There weren’t arrangements Thursday for counseling but Gibbs-Brown said the district will be sensitive to students’ needs once school starts.

Sanders was a cheerleader at Lake Marion, “front and center,” Gibbs-Brown said.

“Ms. Sanders was very popular, well-liked and even close to her principal,” she said. “It certainly takes a spirited person to be a cheerleader.”

The superintendent added that the school is thinking about the girls’ families and hopes they find closure.

Orangeburg investigators said that the charges against Wright and Bailey originated after interviewing the men at different times during the shooting investigation.

Detectives found Bailey and a large quantity of unidentified illegal drugs at his Eutawville home after following leads in the investigation. He was taken into custody late Wednesday for questioning.

Investigators said an “enormous amount of evidence” recovered at the Old State Road home just outside Holly Hill is being processed, along with a fire-damaged Mercedes-Benz believed to have been connected to the crime scene. The Mercedes was found about 15 miles from the home in Vance, officials previously said.

Reach Melissa Boughton at 937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.