JAMES ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA -- A bread vendor shot and killed an 18-year-old man who tried to rob him Tuesday morning as he made a delivery to a Harris Teeter supermarket on James Island, Charleston police said.
Police said Jay Baldwin Wrenn, a former Hanahan police officer, grabbed a gun from his pickup truck and shot the robber twice in the chest. The robber claimed to have a gun, but police found only a pair of pliers in the man's jacket, police Chief Reuben Greenberg said.
Investigators have determined that Wrenn, 27, acted in self-defense, Greenberg said. He was not arrested, and Greenberg said he would not support any effort to charge Wrenn with a crime.
"No crime has been committed, and you can't charge someone if no crime has been committed," he said. "If people decide to engage in armed robbery, they take a chance. It's a highly risky occupation."
Authorities identified the dead man as Tyrone McDaniel of Riley Road, which is a few blocks from the Folly Road supermarket. McDaniel had a "substantial" criminal record and is suspected of robbing two other vendors at the supermarket in the past two weeks, Greenberg said.
McDaniel died at Medical University Hospital shortly after the shooting, Charleston County Deputy Coroner Bobbi Jo O'Neal said.
Investigators say a man approached Wrenn as he was delivering bread in the rear of Harris Teeter at 8 a.m. The man motioned with his hand under his jacket as if he had a gun and told Wrenn to "give me your money or I'll blast you," police said.
The robber then walked Wrenn back to his pickup truck so the vendor could get his wallet from the glove compartment, which also contained a .38-caliber revolver, police said. State law allows pistol owners to carry their guns in vehicles, as long as the weapons are secured in a closed glove box, console or trunk.
"Mr. Wrenn, fearing for his life, reached inside the glove compartment, grabbed his revolver and shot the perpetrator twice," Greenberg said.
Greenberg said standard police training calls for officers to fire twice, or "double tap," targets. He described Tuesday's shooting as a "range-type shot."
"He fired only the shots that appeared to be necessary," he said.
When police arrived at the supermarket, they found Wrenn clutching his revolver in one hand and a cell phone in the other. McDaniel lay on his back at Wrenn's feet. Wrenn was ordered to drop the weapon and lie on the ground, which he did.
He was then handcuffed for a short time until police could determine what happened, according to a police report.
Charleston police didn't know how long Wrenn served as a police officer, and Hanahan authorities could not be reached for comment. Wrenn declined to comment on the incident.
After speaking with police, Wrenn left the area with his father. His sister, Rhonda Metts, remained behind to finish loading bread into the supermarket.
"I feel relieved Jay is OK and it turned out the way it did," Metts said.
She said she was worried, but not surprised, when she learned _someone had tried to rob her _brother.
"In this business, it's bound to happen sooner or later because we work in the dark in the early morning hours," she said.
In the past two weeks, two vendors were robbed at Harris Teeter. A Krispy Kreme deliveryman was robbed on Dec. 29, and another vendor was robbed Monday, Greenberg said.
Monday's victim, who reported the crime to police on Tuesday, identified McDaniel as the man who robbed him after looking at a photo line-up, Greenberg said. The Krispy Kreme deliveryman had not been contacted Tuesday, but words used by the robber in that crime were identical to those by McDaniel Tuesday morning, he said.
McDaniel, who would have turned 19 on Friday, had a lengthy criminal record as a juvenile, with arrests for vandalism, auto theft, assault and possession of stolen property, Greenberg said. As an adult, he was convicted of criminal domestic violence in August 2000 and was awaiting trial on similar charges, according to State Law Enforcement Division records.
A woman who answered the phone at McDaniel's home Tuesday afternoon said the family was "in distress" and was unavailable for comment.
Mike Mock, another bread vendor who is a friend of Wrenn, said it was senseless for someone to try to rob vendors because they operate by charge accounts and carry little cash.
"It just makes you mad that this had to happen, especially when we don't carry nothing but pocket change," he said.
"Unless he had some personal money on him, there was probably nothing there."
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