Sheriff's crime scene tape (copy)

A man who said he shot his friend during a fight early Sunday in Berkeley County's Cane Bay neighborhood seemed to be in disbelief as he spoke with a 911 dispatcher while waiting for authorities to arrive.

During a 9-minute call released Friday, Wade David Williamson III told the dispatcher multiple times that he had no choice but to shoot 35-year-old Liam Owen Vernon.

"I had a friend of mine in my house come at me," Williamson said. "He was striking me. I had to shoot him. He is down."

Vernon died of his wounds.

Deputies arrived around 7:24 a.m. Sunday at Williamson's Decatur Drive home to find Vernon lying on his back on the kitchen floor, according to an incident report. He was unresponsive, and a bloody towel covered his chest.  

Williamson, 34, had not been arrested in connection with the shooting as of Friday afternoon, said Mike Cochran, a Berkeley County Sheriff's Office spokesman. 

An investigation into the shooting is ongoing, Cochran said. 

"We had been getting along all night," Williamson said in the 911 call. "He come at me. He hit me in the face. He tried to keep hitting me. I grabbed the gun, and I shot him twice in the chest (to) get him away from me."

Williamson repeated the story several times. He also repeatedly asked if Vernon could hear him and eventually asked the dispatcher what he could do to keep Vernon alive.

The dispatcher told him to get a clean towel and apply pressure to the wounds.

At some point, Williamson checked to make sure the gun was unloaded and sitting on a counter. The dispatcher told him he needed to step outside with his hands up when deputies arrived.

More than five minutes into the call, Vernon stopped breathing.

"Liam, Liam, can you hear me, Liam?" Williamson said. "He's making noises, but he's not responding. I don't know what to do."

The dispatcher told him he did the right thing by calling 911.

"I didn't have any choice," Williamson said. "I didn't have any ... choice. He hit me in the jaw."

Reach Gregory Yee at 843-937-5908. Follow him on Twitter @GregoryYYee.

Gregory Yee covers breaking news and public safety. He's a native Angeleno and previously covered crime and courts for the Press-Telegram in Long Beach, CA. He studied journalism and Spanish literature at the University of California, Irvine.