During a five-day period, Dec. 14-18, the Camden Police Department (CPD) seized six guns in separate incidents, including a traffic stop that resulted in the arrest of a man and woman in connection with the Nov. 29 armed robbery of a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver.
In all, Camden officers arrested 14 people for crimes including shoplifting, burglary, assaults, and threatening the lives of public officials.
On Nov. 29, a Domino’s Pizza delivery driver tried delivering food to “912 Wylie St.,” but soon realized no such address existed. When he called the woman who placed the order, she directed him to a similar address on Chesnut Street. After being greeted there by the woman, the delivery man soon found himself shoved into the home at gunpoint by a man who ordered him to give his money to a second woman. Ultimately, the man and two women stole money, a cellphone, the man’s wallet and the pizza.
Thanks to a traffic stop for speeding, the man and one of the women involved in the case are now behind bars. Carlton Patrick Brown, 23, and Ashella Zanae Pearson, 18, both of Moore Road north of Camden, are charged with armed robbery, kidnapping, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. Brown is additionally charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
On Sunday, an officer spotted a vehicle traveling east on Laurens Street that appeared to be exceeding the speed limit and confirmed by radar it was traveling at 42 mph in a 30 mph zone. The officer followed the vehicle onto Highland Avenue, Walnut Street and Broad Street, at which point he activated blue lights and conducted a traffic stop in the parking lot of the shops across from the Kershaw County Courthouse. Dispatchers advised the officer the car’s license tag had expired.
As the officer approached the car, Brown rolled the driver’s window down, causing the officer to detect the strong odor of marijuana coming from inside. He asked for Brown’s driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. When Brown opened the glove compartment, the officer saw a black handgun.
At this point, the officer drew his service weapon and ordered everyone in the vehicle -- including Pearson and a 16-year-old girl -- to not move as he called for backup. Another officer arrived on the scene and took possession of the weapon from the glove box. After other officers arrived on the scene, the responding officer asked Brown how much marijuana was in the vehicle. Brown reportedly just looked over at Pearson, but refused to answer.
A search of the vehicle turned up a large clear plastic bag of marijuana that had been kept inside of a purse that, in turn, was inside a larger handbag. Officers also found some pieces of marijuana on the floorboard, a bottle of vodka, a metal grinder, silver digital scale and a clear plastic container with marijuana residue.
When the reporting officer opened the trunk, he discovered a mason jar with marijuana residue … and a blue Domino’s Pizza warming bag that still contained the pizza box from the Nov. 29 armed robbery.
Brown admitted he did not work at Domino’s. Officers arrested him and Pearson and took them to jail. Brown reportedly claimed he handed Pearson the bag of marijuana as they were spotted.
Officers took the 16-year-old girl to CPD headquarters where she was released to her father.
CPD Capt. Herbie Frasier said some of the information gathered during Brown and Pearson’s interrogations appeared to indicate they may have conducted similar armed robberies of delivery drivers in the county. Sheriff Jim Matthews said a case earlier this year might result in attempted armed robbery charges against the couple.
“The delivery person drove off before they could rob him,” Matthews said.
He said information about another case from 2016 did not result in warrants being drawn at this time.
One of the other four gun-related cases involved two pistols, one of which was stolen.
Around 9:50 p.m. Dec. 15, an officer pulled over a burgundy Ford Crown Victoria traveling westbound on East DeKalb Street without headlights on. Officers identified another 23-year-old -- this time, Rasheem Steeler, of Antioch Drive, Kingstree -- as a passenger. Officers also identified a 22-year-old Camden woman as the driver and a 15-year juvenile female as being in the car with them. The traffic stop took place in the parking lot of Safelite Auto Glass just past the intersection with Broad Street. As the officer wrote the woman a ticket, another officer who had spoken with Steeler told the first officer that he had marijuana “shake” (pieces) all over the front of his clothing. Steeler reportedly admitted he had smoked some prior to getting in the car.
Prior to a pat down, Steeler reportedly admitted he had marijuana in his possession and the responding officer found a baggie of marijuana in his left pocket.
During a search of the vehicle, officers discovered numerous cigarillo packages along with loose tobacco, marijuana shake all over the driver’s and front passenger seat floorboards, and a mostly empty bottle of light beer in a brown paper bag.
The officer then discovered two handguns in the back pocket of the front passenger seat in which Steeler had been sitting, which was also in front of where the juvenile had been sitting. One of them, a Smith & Wesson, still had a round in the chamber.
At this point, Steeler said he would not speak any further with the officers. However, when officers advised his companion that she could be charged for unlawful carrying of a weapon because she had been driving, Steeler claimed both weapons were his.
Officers released the woman after issuing her a ticket for the headlights being off, and released the juvenile to her mother. An officer then transported Steeler to jail and asked dispatchers to run a criminal history on him. It came back with Steeler being a convicted felon prohibited from carrying a firearm. Dispatchers also advised the Smith & Wesson had been stolen out of Williamsburg County. Later, at headquarters, officers weighed the marijuana, which turned out to be a total of 2 grams.
Officers ultimately charged Steeler with possession of a stolen pistol and two counts of unlawful possession of a pistol.
The other two gun cases:
• Dec. 14, 2:30, p.m. -- Braylee Grace Taylor, 22, of Crossbow Drive, Columbia -- officers responding to a shoplifting report at Walmart saw Taylor riding in car near Walmart and conducted a traffic stop during which they recovered not only the $10 of merchandise she took, but a 9mm handgun and a piece of drug paraphernalia. Officers charged Taylor with shoplifting, possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawful carrying of a pistol.
• Dec. 14, 10:40 p.m. -- Sylvester James Lucas Jr., 20, and Terry Nicholas Bernell Martin, 28, both of Favor Road, Camden; and Dante Jawan Dean, 21, of Frye Road, Rembert -- an officer spotted a white PT Cruiser on West DeKalb Street without a tail light and conducted a traffic stop in the Commerce Alley parking lot. The officer smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the car. During a subsequent pat down, the officer found Lucas in possession of brass knuckles. A search of the vehicle turned up a fully loaded (six rounds) .357 magnum revolver and a semi-automatic 9mm handgun, a box of 49 rounds of 9mm ammunition, a 9mm magazine, a box of cigarettes, and some green and purple pills that had not been identified at the time the report was filed. Officers charged all three men with unlawful possession or carrying of a pistol.
CPD Operations Capt. Tom Borowski, who is replacing Sheriff-elect Lee Boan, said it is unusual to recover six guns in one weekend. Investigative Capt. Herbie Frasier chalked that up to two things.
“There is an increase in guns on the street,” Frasier said, “but we also have extra people working holiday patrol and that’s helping us be more aware of what’s going on right now.”
Taylor’s is not the only shoplifting-related case the CPD dealt with over that five-day period. One of the more significant started out as a robbery call, but turned out to be shoplifting with a few twists thrown in.
Around 8 p.m. Monday, officers responded to Hibbett Sports at Springdale Plaza. When they arrived, they learned that two men and a young woman, later identified as all being from Columbia, had come into the store and started grabbing lots of merchandise. Suspicious, two of the employees headed toward the front doors in case they tried to leave. That’s when the two men ran for the doors and yelled at their female accomplice to do the same. The employees said the woman -- who actually turned out to be 17-year-old Pearlice Tatyana Livingston, of Orr Street, Columbia -- knocked one of them down as she ran out the door, causing the employee to cut their forearm. The trio got into a silver Ford sedan, with a 19-year-old woman waiting inside, and took off.
Thanks to a description of the vehicle, S.C. Highway Patrol troopers soon located the Ford in Lugoff and made a traffic stop. Officers found many items stolen from Hibbett on the passenger floorboard.
Officers charged Livingston with shoplifting under $2,000 and third-degree assault and battery. They charged the two men with shoplifting, but did not charge the female passenger.
In another shoplifting case at Walmart on Tuesday, officers charged a 28-year-old Heath Springs woman and a 22-year-old Lancaster. The women were, apparently among four who may have been involved. Employees said the four women had allegedly been looking into cars and taking things from them, but had also been seen leaving the store with shopping carts full of merchandise without paying for them. Officers managed to stop a Toyota Rav4 and questioned the two women.
Officers located and recovered all the merchandise, and also found the Heath Springs woman in possession of a medical syringe and charged her with possession of drug paraphernalia. Officers also discovered she already has three shoplifting convictions and is currently charged with shoplifting enhancement.
Two other cases the CPD handled between Dec. 14 and 17 involved assaults, including one involving the officers themselves.
A little after 10 a.m. Sunday, officers responded to KershawHealth to assist with a “Part 1 Papers” patient refusing to allow a nurse to administer medication by a hip injection. Frasier said Part 1 Papers designates someone as a patient who cannot refuse treatment, usually due to some type of mental or emotional issue.
When an officer went into an emergency room to speak to the patient -- identified as a 37-year-old Camden woman -- she allegedly became “hostile and belligerent” and had to be restrained by the nurse, and two officers. The woman repeatedly spit in the first officer’s face, leading the nurse to decide she needed to use actual restraints to control the patient so the medication could be administered. She reportedly managed to get control of one of the restraints and threw it at the officer. Working together, those in the room managed to place the woman in what were described as “soft” restraints, during which she spit on the officer again.
She also told the officers she would “put a bullet in both your as--s.”
The woman managed to get out of the soft restraints and had to be placed in leather restraints. Soon afterward, the hospital discharged the woman, allowing officers to place her under arrest, cuffed to the front using belly restraints and ankle cuffs and placed a dust mask over her mouth so she could no longer spit on them.
The officers then took her to jail where she was charged with two counts of threatening the life of a public official and throwing bodily fluids on a law officer.
Frasier noted that officers had responded to the woman’s King Street residence the day before.
According to a separate report, the woman’s mother said her daughter had threatened to harm herself with a knife. She said her daughter had a history of contemplating suicide and that, a year and a half ago, she threatened to harm herself as well. Officers found a suicide note written at the scene, but managed to talk the woman out of harming herself and to voluntarily go to the hospital for an evaluation.
The other assault-related case also involved the burglary of a King Haigler Apartments unit on Laurens Street.
Officers responded to the apartment around 3:30 a.m. Dec. 14 and spoke to a 28-year-old woman who said a man she had only met about a month earlier, called saying he was on her way to her residence. She said he showed up with two other subjects she didn’t know. She also said he began acting strangely and she began to feel threatened.
While the man -- later identified as Rico Lashane Cantey, 25, of Haystacks Road, Gadsden -- waiting outside, she went in and locked the front and rear doors. She said Cantey began banging on the door, went around to the back, broke the glass of that door and got inside. The woman said she then ran out of the apartment, but that Cantey caught up to her in the roadway and they began fighting. At one point during the fight, Cantey allegedly bit the woman on the left side of her face. The two men who had been with him got into a vehicle and left, leaving Cantey behind.
By then, officers were responding, so Cantey reportedly fled the scene. However, it turned out he hadn’t gone very far.
After initially clearing the apartment, speaking with the victim and photographing the residence, officers decided to search it a second time. This time, officers located Cantey hiding under a bed and arrested him. The reporting officer noted that due to Cantey’s short stature -- 5 feet 3 inches tall and only 130 pounds -- they had missed him during their initial search. The officers drew their service weapons and ordered Cantey to come out, which he did, and took him into custody.
Cantey admitted that a Hyundai still running outside the apartment was his, but it turned out to be reported stolen out of Richland County. The two men who had left him behind had done so by stealing a 2007 Nissan Sentra belonging to one of the victim’s neighbors. Richland County deputies later recovered it.
Officers took Cantey to jail where they served him with warrants for first-degree burglary and possession of a stolen vehicle.
“The patrol division was on top of their game,” Frasier said of responding to these and other incidents. “They were really good about getting information to investigators so they could question these subjects. We have really good communications between the divisions.”