ST. HELENA ISLAND, SC (March 19, 2012/8:30 AM) – The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is currently searching for a suspect wanted in a St. Helena Island home invasion that occurred early this morning.
At 4 AM, Sheriff’s deputies responded to a residence on Dulamo Bluff Rd in reference to a home invasion that had occurred approximately 20 minutes earlier. Upon arrival, deputies met with a 24-year old male and his 51-year old mother, who advised that five suspects had broken into their home.
The victims reported that the suspects entered the home, armed with handguns and an assault rifle and restrained them using duct tape. The male victim was pistol-whipped about the head as the suspects stole a TV and cell phone from the residence. The suspects then fled the area, stealing the female victim’s car, which they quickly abandoned several houses away. The male victim was transported to Beaufort Memorial for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
The victims were able to identify one of their attackers as a family member and provided deputies with a description of the vehicle that they were believed to be riding in. The information was broadcast to local law enforcement, and the vehicle, a grey Ford van, was spotted by a Beaufort Police officer on Carteret St. Officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop, with the van initially pulling over on Carteret St. at Duke St. However, the driver quickly put the van into drive, leading officers on a vehicle pursuit.
Sheriff’s deputies took over the pursuit as the vehicle approached the area of the Marine Corps Air Station, with the pursuit continuing to Hwy 17 and Kinlock Rd. At that time, two suspects bailed out of the van. The three remaining suspects were apprehended from the vehicle. During the pursuit, an AK-47 was thrown from the fleeing suspect
vehicle. The weapon was recovered. A search of the van yielded the recovery of two pistols and the stolen TV.
Members of the Sheriff’s Office K9 Tracking Team responded and began a manhunt for the two suspects at large. The Reverse 911 system was utilized to notify all residents in the Big Estates area of the incident. Several residents reported seeing suspicious persons in the area of the cemetery on Bull Corner Rd. Deputies located and detained one of the fleeing suspects on Bull Corner Rd.
The perimeter was terminated at 9:30 AM, however, several deputies will remain in the area to continue searching. Residents in the area are asked to exercise caution and be aware of and report any suspicious persons. The final suspect is described as a black male in his 20’s wearing black pants with no shirt on. The suspect will likely be wet and/or muddy from fleeing. The Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information to immediately contact 911.
Further details will be released as they become available.