Cops seek suspect in fatal shooting of 77-year-old Hardeeville man
A 77-year-old Hardeeville man was shot and killed Thursday morning and Hardeeville Police are searching for the suspect.
At 8:51 a.m., police responded to a call that shots were fired. Hardeeville Police Chief Sam Woodward said Ernest Martin Stevens was found shot in the parking lot of the Argent Square complex. He was transported to Coastal Carolina Hospital where he died.
The Jasper County Coroner’s Office said Stevens died of multiple gunshot wounds to the body.
Hardeeville Police seek a shooter last seen on Ulman Street, heading towards Boyd Street. He’s described as a black male between 5-foot-10 and 6-feet with short dreadlocks and wearing a long black shirt and jean shorts, according to the Hardeeville PD.
Stevens was well-known in the community.
“It’s (Stevens) someone we know, we’re familiar with and I personally know. I had breakfast with him yesterday,” Woodward said at the press conference this afternoon. “So it’s a sad day for Hardeeville. He used to be a fire chief here and volunteer with the fire department. It’s a very sad day for Hardeeville, this gentleman, and his family. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family.”
According to Woodward, Stevens tried to get away from the shooter in his car. Shots were fired into the car, but Woodward said forensics did not disclose how many shots were fired or whether the shots were from close-range or not.
“Apparently the deceased was trying to get away from the guy who was shooting at him and he drove over to the area behind the Advance Auto Parts and came to a stop there,” said Woodward. “All I can tell you is there were multiple shots into the vehicle where the victim was.”
Stevens was alone at the time of the shooting, cops say. There’s no known motive.
“We’re going to do everything we can to try and get the suspect. We’re going to try everything we got — that’s the reason I’ve called SLED, that’s the reason I’ve called the dogs. And whoever else we’ve got to call to get him in here we’re going to try to do that, whatever it takes. Hopefully we’ll get some news on the suspect here later this afternoon.”
Woodward said he’s shocked by the shooting.
“It caught us all of guard,” he said. “To have that happen at that time in the morning around here is unusual. So it caught us all off guard and we don’t know why or how these two people came in contact with one another. Right now we’re still working on that, my investigators, along with SLED, are working on it trying to figure out what took place and why it took place.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Hardeeville Police at 843-784-6668 or 911.