Two arrested in shooting death of Lady’s Island man

 From staff reports 

William Johnson III and Brittany Smalls were arrested Friday, Oct. 22, in connection with the shooting death of Laventis Cohen on Lady’s Island. Both suspects both have been taken into custody. 

On Friday morning, Oct. 22, investigators met with a Beaufort County magistrate and obtained warrants for the arrests of Johnson and Smalls for Murder, Obstruction of Justice and Possession of a Weapon during the Commission of a Violent Crime in connection with Cohen’s shooting death. 

Johnson is being held at the Richmond County (Ga.) Detention Center while awaiting extradition to Beaufort County. Smalls is incarcerated at the Beaufort County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing as of Tuesday. 

On the afternoon of Oct. 16, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to reports of a shooting at a residence on Brickyard Point Road North on Lady’s Island. When deputies arrived, they found the 47-year-old Cohen, deceased inside the residence. 

Cohen, of St. Helena Island, died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds, as confirmed through autopsy at the Medical University of South Carolina. 

The Sheriff’s Department said on Saturday that there was no public safety threat, as the person of interest in the shooting, the 29-year-old Smalls, who resides at the Lady’s Island home where the shooting occurred, provided a story of how the shooting transpired. 

The scene was processed for forensic evidence, while Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department investigators continued to interview Smalls and other witnesses. 

According to the Sheriff’s Department, through those interviews, investigators identified a second person of interest in the shooting, 21-year-old William Johnson III of St. Helena Island.

Smalls was not charged at the time of the initial investigation, and Johnson was not immediately located. As investigators continued to evaluate evidence and interview witnesses, they learned that following the shooting, Johnson fled to Augusta, Ga.

When investigators found Johnson was wanted by Georgia authorities on unrelated assault charges, they reached out to Richmond County (Ga.) Sheriff’s Office deputies and advised them that Johnson was a person of interest in Cohen’s murder.

On Thursday, Oct. 21, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office deputies and the United States Marshals Service located Johnson and took him into custody on the active warrants from Georgia. He was incarcerated at the Richmond County Detention Center.

On Saturday morning, Oct. 23, after warrants were issued, investigators located Smalls at a residence on St. Helena Island and took her into custody on the three arrest warrants.

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