4 face charges in drug-slaying case

Anthony Lee Pierce (from left), Enphaine Michelle Swarez , Ramara Lashay Stroman and Dana Andrew Butler Jr.

SUMMERVILLE -- Four teenagers face charges in a drug deal that resulted in the robbery and fatal shooting of a 19-year-old man last month near Summerville, sheriff's investigators said Thursday.

The shooting happened about 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19 in the parking lot of Azalea Park Apartments on Orangeburg Road. A young woman and a teenage girl met there with William Michael Cummings Jr. of Moncks Corner, to buy marijuana from him, the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office said.

A gunman was hiding nearby when the drug deal took place, according to sheriff's Capt. James Nettles.

While the females were with Cummings, a man "came out of a wooded area with a gun and began firing," Nettles said in a statement. Cummings was struck in the chest and died after he got into a car driven by 17-year-old Anthony Lee Pierce, according to deputies.

Deputies said they found witnesses to the shooting, but some questions about the incident could not be answered.

"I don't know if it was designed (as a setup) or whether that's just what happened," said sheriff's Maj. John Garrison. "It was mostly just a drug deal."

The wounded Cummings was driven some distance from the apartments by Pierce, who stopped and called 911. Pierce was charged that night with intent to distribute marijuana and criminal conspiracy. He is being held at the Dorchester County Detention Center on $25,000 bail.

Deputies captured three suspects late last month in connection with the slaying. On Dec. 28 they arrested 17-year-old Enphaine Michelle Swarez of Summerville on a count of criminal conspiracy. She received a $40,000 bond.

Two days later, acting on information they gathered as a result of search warrants, deputies arrested 19-year-old Ramara Lashay Stroman of Summerville, who faces the same charge of criminal conspiracy. Her bond was denied.

Dana Andrew Butler Jr., 19, of Ridgeville, who the deputies said was the shooter, also was arrested Dec. 30 on charges of armed robbery and murder. He was denied bail.

In October, Butler was convicted of unlawful carrying of a pistol, according to Dorchester County court records.

Investigators were unsure whether more people would be charged in the slaying.

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or on Twitter at @offlede.