A military veteran delivering beer Monday afternoon to a North Charleston convenience store was shot near two carts loaded with Heineken, Natural Light and Budweiser.
The deliveryman, who was not immediately named, suffered a wound that was not life-threatening outside the Neighbor Store at 1740 E. Montague Ave., the police said.
It was the first of two instances of gunfire within about two hours and 1 mile of each other that set off fruitless searches for a gunman. In the second, bullets struck an occupied car and a house at 5421 Torgerson Ave., but no one was hurt.
Spencer Pryor, a spokesman for the North Charleston Police Department, said investigators had not linked the two incidents.
The first episode was reported about 1 p.m., when a worker hauling beer from a Budweiser tractor-trailer rig reported hearing gunfire, then realizing he was hit.
It was not clear whether he was the intended target, and Pryor did not discuss any motives.
Next door, 44-year-old Michael Mack was in his bedroom when he said he heard four or five gunshots. He said he scurried outside but saw nothing remarkable until the police cars screeched to a halt.
“I came outside after I heard all that shooting, but nothing much was happening,” Mack said. I’m just glad I was in the house when they were doing that.”
The deliveryman was hospitalized, but authorities did not detail his injuries.
Witnesses told the police that they saw a black man with dreadlocks and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans running down Montague Avenue, Pryor said.
Officers cordoned off the parking lot, which also contained a Budweiser van. Investigators photographed the tractor-trailer rig’s interior and hauled away evidence in paper bags.
Police dogs scampered down the adjacent Luella Avenue, and a sheriff’s helicopter circled. Charleston County School of the Arts and Academic Magnet High School were placed on lockdown. But the suspect was not found.
A store surveillance camera was pointed at the parking lot, but it was not immediately known whether the police obtained a video of the shooting.
About two hours later, John Scott, a man who identified himself as the victim’s uncle, arrived at the scene to learn more about what happened. He said his nephew is a military member.
“He was about to deploy to Afghanistan,” Scott said.
Then around 3 p.m., just as investigators wrapped up their efforts on Montague Avenue, they were called to Torgerson Avenue, where a car and a brick house had been struck by bullets.
Next door, 56-year-old James Besly was watching a History Channel documentary about samurais when a half-dozen shots rang out. Then, he said, someone yelled, “I’m gonna kill you, boy.”
He retreated from the windows and dialed 911. His wife, who was returning home, reported seeing a man jump a neighbor’s fence. The man was black, had dreadlocks and was wearing blue jeans and a white T-shirt.
But dogs and a helicopter could not track down the suspect.
The police marked nine shell casings on the pavement next to a mailbox. An investigator climbed a ladder and photographed a bullet hole in the eaves of the house.
“This street is usually pretty quiet,” Besly said. “This is the first thing that’s happened in quite a while.”
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.
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