Deputies seek suspect in home-invasion slaying

Troy Lawrence Mason of North Charleston is wanted in a shooting death.

McCLELLANVILLE -- Charleston County sheriff's deputies are searching for a man accused of breaking into a house and shooting the homeowner to death in the early morning hours of July 10.

Troy Lawrence Mason, 21, of North Charleston is wanted on a murder charge in the fatal shooting of Melvin Simmons Jr. at 10406 Old Georgetown Road in McClellanville.

Authorities said Mason was shot and a second suspect, Curtis Delaney, was killed after they kicked in the door to Simmons' home and exchanged gunfire with the people inside.

Deputies arrived at the house about 4:30 a.m. July 10 and found Simmons lying dead on the floor of the master bedroom. Delaney was found lying dead on the ground outside of the front door, according to an affidavit. Deputies said Delaney, 26, had a knitted ski-type mask covering his face and a glove on his right hand.

A witness inside the home told deputies that two masked men with handguns kicked in the front door about 4 a.m. and yelled, "FBI, get on the ground."

The witness said the suspects went into Simmons' bedroom and gunfire erupted. After Simmons was shot, he grabbed the gun and returned fire, possibly striking one or both of the suspects, the affidavit said.

Investigators found a trail of blood leading from the home down Old Georgetown Road toward S.C. Highway 45.

Later that day, investigators were called to Trident Medical Center where they met with Mason, who was being treated for two gunshot wounds. Mason told the investigators that he had been shot on Red Bank Road, the affidavit said.

Investigators submitted both the blood evidence recovered from the shooting scene and Mason's clothing to the State Law Enforcement Division for DNA analysis. The test confirmed the blood from the shirt and the crime scene matched, the affidavit said.

Mason is a black male about 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds.