WATCH NOW: Vehicle wanted after shooting 6-year-old killed in Orangeburg County
Abraham Salley says Winston O’Conner Hunter was an energetic 6-year-old boy.
“He had energy for days,” Salley said.
“He was outgoing, fun, loving, bossy, just a great person overall. Great child. Full of life,” Salley said. Hunter was “just nice. Just nice to be around. Very respectful, kind and adorable person.
The family lost Hunter after a drive-by gunman shot at their McClain Street home at 11:35 p.m. Friday.
Hunter, along with his parents and older brother, had just returned home moments earlier after a family event, according to an incident report from the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office.
Hunter’s father heard several shots and told everyone to get down.
He noticed his 6-year-old son was injured on the couch, so he picked him up and took him to a bedroom.
The boy’s mother called 911, telling a dispatcher that someone had shot her son.
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A 911 dispatcher guided the boy’s father through CPR until first responders arrived.
The northern police chief was the first to arrive, followed by deputies and northern firefighters. Orangeburg County EMS arrived and pronounced Hunter deceased.
Deputies recovered a number of shell casings from the roadway in front of the family’s home.
Hunter’s parents’ vehicles were damaged by gunfire.
Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said Monday that investigators are looking for a vehicle of interest in the case.
“We believe this vehicle may be related to the shooting death Friday of one of our children in the community,” Ravenell said. “His name was Winston. I want whoever shot him to know his name, know what you did.
Ravenell said cameras captured video of a vehicle entering Highway 321 in Woodford moments after the shooting.
If anyone has any information about the vehicle or the incident, please contact the Sheriff’s Office at 803-534-3550 or Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. All callers can remain anonymous.
Salley, who is one of Hunter’s parents, said the family is getting “an outpouring of support from people from all walks of life, from all parties, from all races, from all counties – we’ve been through some of the deepest displays of love.
“People keep pouring and pouring and keep pouring in calls, texts, Facebook – all that has been is just love.”
Brenda Hunter-Smith, the slain boy’s godmother, said: “We are a very, very close family. We have a small circle and our life revolves around this small circle.
She will remember her godson’s personality, his love for baseball and Beyblades. Beyblades are spinning top toys.
“If he could get you to challenge him with Beyblades, you’ve got a game,” she said.
“And cell phones,” she said.
“I didn’t have a cell phone when he was there. It was Winston’s cell phone,” she said with a laugh.
On Wednesday, part of McClain Street will be “renamed” in honor of the 6-year-old as “Winston Lane”.
His church family, community, family and friends are invited to tie balloons to the Bethlehem Baptist Church ball diamond fence which runs parallel to McClain Street.
Hunter-Smith appreciates the support the family has received.
“I’m sorry it had to go like this, but the outpouring of love and support from the community – near and far – feels good to my heart. To know that we have support, you know, the community supports us, we have seen nothing but love.
Church pastor Reverend Felix C. Anderson said that instead of having a memorial event at a certain time, those who wish to say a prayer and show their support for Hunter are encouraged to tie a balloon, with notes attached, if desired, at closing.
Anderson said Hunter was an active part of church life.
In the children’s church, when the teacher gave them different roles, “Winston was the little deacon,” Anderson said.
“They called him ‘Deacon Winston’,” he added.
The teacher told Anderson, “Whatever you asked him to do, he was always enthusiastic about it.”
“He was growing and having an impact, even at this young age,” Anderson said.
“He will hold a special place in this church and always have a special place in our hearts,” he said.
“It’s something that’s an open wound. And the one thing about an open wound, if you take care of it, it will heal. When it heals, it will leave a scar. The scar serves two purposes, it lets you know that you have been healed, that you have been through something, but it also lets you know that you have been healed of something. So we recognize that there will be a scar on this community,” he said.
“God is the one who’s going to get us through this.”
Contact the writer: [email protected] or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD