No charges in fatal shooting

Jason Arriolo

SUMMERVILLE -- No charges will be filed against a man who shot and killed his next-door neighbor last month after a night of card-playing and drinking, authorities said Friday.

Shortly after 8:30 p.m. April 28, Summerville police were called to a townhouse on Hemingway Circle where they found 32-year-old Jason Arriolo with gunshot wound to his chest. Arriolo was still alive, but barely breathing. He was rushed to Summerville Medical Center, where he later died.

Arriolo lived in the townhouse next-door to the scene of the shooting. The shooter admitted having shot at Arriolo after Arriolo had been intimidating and threatening him and others in the house and was advancing toward him menacingly, backing him into a corner, authorities said.

In the days following the shooting, Summerville police said they were unsure if charges would be filed because the shooter claimed he was acting in self-defense.

On Friday, police Capt. Jon Rogers said no charges are planned. The case is not officially closed, pending results of toxicology tests, he said.

Investigators think the shooting was justified under the "castle doctrine" and the doctrine of self-defense, Rogers said.

First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe said he met with police Thursday. On Friday, he spoke with the dead man's mother, Debbie Arriolo.

"I explained to her that, from the evidence presented to me thus far, it is my opinion that the gunman not be charged," Pascoe said.

"I am very, very upset about it," said Debbie Arriolo. "I don't really understand. In my heart, I believe there is more to the story than has been told."

According to a police incident report, the shooting took place after an evening of playing cards and drinking at Arriolo's house. People were going back and forth between the two townhouses, which are in Central Commons, a gated community off Central Avenue.

At one point, according to the report, Arriolo, who was at this point in his neighbor's house, kissed his neighbor and asked him for a hug. The neighbor became uncomfortable and asked Arriolo to leave. Arriolo left but returned later, banging on the door and advancing toward the neighbor, the report said.

Debbie Arriolo, who still lives in the townhouse, said she spoke with the shooter on that first night, but had not seen him since the shooting.

"I feel like I am living next-door to a murderer, I do," she said. "But in my heart, I know I have to forgive him."

Arriolo described her son as a drug addict and alcoholic who had spent some time in prison, but she also said he was trying to turn his life around. She said he had recently rekindled his faith in Christ and she knew in her heart that he was in heaven.

"That was the first night Jason had drank since November first," she said. "I want people to understand that Jason wasn't a monster. Yes, he had a lot of problems. Anybody who knew him knew that he had a heart of gold."