Two years ago today, five children found the body of Corey Lamont Chapman lying in the pathway to school. One of the kids snapped a picture with a cellphone.
The photograph made the rounds at Alice Burney Middle School until school officials found out about it and led detectives to the popular cut-through between Pepperridge Apartments and Pepperhill Townhouses just off Ashley Phosphate Road in North Charleston.
Within hours, detectives were at Gloria Chapman's front door to tell her that her only son, the oldest of three children, was dead. The 30-year-old was gunned down some time overnight, less than a mile from her house.
"He was shot four times," Chapman said Friday. "They didn't intend for him to live."
No arrests have been made in the case. North Charleston police Capt. Scott Deckard said they interviewed dozens of people in the days after the shooting but have received very few leads since.
Chapman wonders why no one is coming forward to help.
"We do feel like it's somebody he knew or we might know," she said. "I just feel like somebody's out there, they know something and they're just not saying anything."
Chapman described her son as quiet, extremely intelligent, with an infectious smile. She still goes through his papers, where he wrote about his love of music and dream of joining NASA, a dream he knew was dashed because of his criminal record. He had past convictions forthird degree burglary, threatening a public official, strong-arm robbery, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, failure to stop for blue lights and possessing marijuana.
Chapman said her son never went looking for trouble, but it always seemed to find him. Her son hung out with a bad group of people and ended up taking the rap on a lot of the offenses because he refused, against her wishes, to implicate others, she said. "Corey was a follower and not a leader," she said.
He worked two jobs and lived with his mom at the time of his death. She said goodnight to him about 10:45 p.m. May 27 and went to bed. She said he used her cellphone to call three people, two of whom didn't answer the phone, and then left the house out of a back sliding door.
Chapman said it was unusual for him to go out at night, and found it even more strange that he left the sliding door cracked overnight.
A neighbor called her at work later that day and told her detectives were in her yard.
"My first thought was, 'What did Corey do now?' " she said. "When I came home, that's when they told me."
The memory of that day comes back full force on the anniversary. She begged anyone who might know something to contact police so that she might have some closure.
"Everyone in the community knew Corey and his smile," she said. "That smile would just draw people. You think, 'Who would want to hurt him and why?' "