From staff reports
The Beaufort County Sheriffs Office (BCSO) released an update around 7 p.m., Friday evening on the investigation into the Jan. 26 shooting on St. Helena Island that killed three people.
According to the BCSO, information obtained thus far in the investigation strongly indicates that Jaquan Sanders, 24, of Shell Point, unlawfully and forcibly entered an Eddings Point Road residence armed with a pistol, which precipitated one of the lawful residents, Kalila Saunders, 22, or her mother, Robin Saunders, 55, to exchange gunfire with Jaquan, Kalila’s estranged boyfriend, in defense of themselves and their home.
The case remains under investigation, and forensic analyses may assist in determining more about the shooting.
At around 11:30 a.m., Jan. 26, BCSO deputies responded to a report from a female caller, later identified as Robin Saunders, that a male subject was breaking into her home. The caller advised Sheriff’s Office dispatchers that a person she knew, Jaquan Sanders, was breaking into her home.
Jaquan Sanders had no legal access to, nor was he welcome in the Saunders’ home.
When the first deputy arrived, he noted that the door had been damaged, consistent with the door being forced open and with the female caller’s report that her home was broken into.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, upon entering the residence, the deputy found a male subject, Jaquan Sanders, 24, of Shell Point, lying unresponsive on the floor of the upstairs hallway with a pistol in his hand.
While still upstairs, the deputy proceeded to a bedroom, where he located two wounded women, Kalila Saunders and Robin Saunders, both of St. Helena, on the floor; a pistol was found on the bed nearby.
The deputy rendered aid to the wounded people and secured the scene for Beaufort County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to respond.
At the scene, EMS paramedics determined Kalila Saunders and Jaquan Sanders were dead from apparent gunshot wounds; Robin Saunders was transported to the Beaufort Memorial Hospital and died a short time later.
According to the BCSO, there were two guns on the scene – the pistol in Jaquan Sanders’ possession when he was found lying unresponsive and the pistol found on the bed belonged to Kalila Saunders. The guns were of different calibers.
There were two calibers of cartridge casings and projectiles found at the scene and recovered in autopsies of the deceased, the Sheriff’s Office said, and the two calibers of casings and projectiles were consistent with the calibers of the two pistols recovered from the residence.
There is no indication that anyone was involved in incident other than the three deceased.