RIDGELAND: Attorney General Condon, who declared 'open season' on home invaders this year will review case.
RIDGELAND, SOUTH CAROLINA -- A Ridgeland man died early Friday after an elderly man heard someone apparently trying to break into his home and fired one shot through the door.
Darryn Garrett, 33, of Ridgeland was shot once through his heart and died a short distance away at the intersection of S.C. 336 and S.C. 29.
Chief Deputy Roy Hughes of the Jasper County Sheriff's Office said an 88-year-old man fired the shot with a .38-caliber pistol. The man's name was not released Friday because he had not been charged with a crime.
"We feel right now, from what we've done so far, that he was defending his home," Hughes said. "He's 88 years old. He was in the house by himself and scared for his life."
The homeowner told investigators that he heard someone outside his house early in the morning. He got up to check things out, but didn't see anything and went back to bed.
At about 2:55 a.m. he heard another suspicious noise, turned on lights and yelled.
"At that point he saw what appeared to be a hand through the window of the door, trying to make entry," Hughes said. "He stated that in fear for his life, he fired a shot through the door."
Garrett's girlfriend heard the shot and called for help. They live nearby, and she told investigators that Garrett had gone out around midnight for a walk.
He was found wearing a black shirt and latex gloves.
Hughes said the case was turned over to the Jasper County Solicitor's Office and will be given to South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon, who will decide whether or not the case should be prosecuted.
Condon's spokesman, Robb McBurney, said the attorney general had not yet received the case Friday so he couldn't comment on that specific shooting. But Condon has taken a clear stance on similar cases.
"The policy is if you are defending your home, you can shoot a home invader or burglar," McBurney said. "And if (an intruder) is trying to break down a door or window the idea is you have reasonable right to fear for your life."
In January Condon declared "open season," on home invaders and sent a letter to all solicitors, sheriffs and police chief directing that citizens acting to defend their homes will not be arrested, charged or prosecuted.
"Citizens protecting their homes who use force, even deadly force, will be fully safeguarded under the law of this state and subject to no arrest, charge or prosecutions," Condon said in a Jan. 24 press release. "In South Carolina, would-be intruders should now hear this: invade a home and invite a bullet."
Jasper County Coroner Martin Sauls said Garrett moved to Ridgeland about four months ago from Michigan.
Reporter Stephanie Broadbent can be reached at 837-5255, ext. 110
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