MONCKS CORNER -- Former Berkeley High School football star Bobby Gadsden was shot in the back of the head when he was caught stealing a gun and ammunition inside a man's home last week.
A pair of handcuffs, a black butterfly knife and a cell phone were in the dead man's pockets, authorities said Monday.
Despite swirling, small-town rumors and a grieving family's Internet campaign questioning whether Gadsden's death was justified, Moncks Corner police say they have no intention of charging the 50-year-old homeowner or anyone else except for the two men police say were helping Gadsden break into the Cooper River Boulevard home.
Lt. Wendell Bowen said nothing in their investigation, including statements from one of the co-defendants, indicates that Cecil Barwick acted with anything but the appropriate force when he fired on Gadsden as the 21-year-old bounded down the stairs with the gun and ammo.
Bowen said it appears Gadsden may have had just enough time to turn when he saw Barwick at the bottom of the stairs. Barwick's one shot caught him in the back of the head, to the side.
He said the investigation has been especially difficult because Gadsden was a talented athlete who was well-liked by everyone in the community, even among some of the officers investigating his death.
"We hate to hear all the rumors because it does nothing but fuel speculation from the family," Bowen said.
Gadsden's mother, two uncles and grandmother from Newark, N.J., say they haven't received satisfactory answers from authorities since arriving Thursday in the town where Gadsden lived with a third uncle. The uncle, Tyler Williams, started a Facebook page, "Justice for Bobby L. Gadsden," demanding answers. As of Monday, the page had more than 500 "likes."
"We're not drawing any conclusions," Williams said. "We just want to make sure the laws are enforced for everyone."
Williams said they're upset because they were originally told Gadsden was shot in the chest and because Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury has declined to request an autopsy or release the body to them until they authorize a funeral home to take custody of it.
Salisbury said he told Gadsden's father, an inmate in a Kentucky penitentiary, that his son died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. He denied that anyone from his office said anything otherwise.
The coroner said an autopsy isn't needed because he already knows what caused the man's death and because there isn't going to be a criminal case into his death.
Bowen addressed some of the issues seized upon by the family. The incident report, released Monday, said Barwick shot Gadsden with a shotgun. Bowen said the officer wrote the report based on information that came from dispatchers at the time of the initial call. The investigation determined Barwick had a handgun.
Bowen also said initial statements given to reporters at the scene that Barwick walked out of the house when he first heard footsteps upstairs were incorrect. He said Barwick looked out the window -- but never left the house -- to see if a family member had arrived and then armed himself.
Bowen said there wasn't enough space or time for there to be anything but the brief confrontation between Gadsden and Barwick, who was home shaving at the time.
Investigators responding to reports that one man was still inside and another had fled found Gadsden face-down near the stairs with the handcuffs, knife and cellphone in his pocket.
Investigators traced the cellphone to two people who said they loaned the phone to 18-year-old Tyler McCoy, one of the suspects. Clifford Ramsey, also a suspect, was found a quarter-mile away, gave a statement to police saying he and McCoy were involved in the burglary with Gadsden, according to an arrest warrant.
Bowen said Ramsey, after initially deflecting questions, has been a forthcoming witness who hasn't implicated anyone else in the crime.
Williams said they will continue to seek answers and plan to demand a federal investigation.