Sumter County Sheriff's Office arrests 4 in church graffiti case

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 13, 2017

The Sumter County Sheriff's Office says they have identified four suspects accused of spray painting a a satanic message outside the Salem Black River Church in Wedgefield. The damage to the church is estimated at $3,000.

The four suspects were arrested late Thursday, less than a day after deputies put out surveillance photos of the vandalism at Salem Black River Presbyterian Church, Sumter County Sheriff's spokesman Ken Bell said.

Investigators said the vandals kicked in a front door but never entered the church, which dates back more than 250 years. The suspects are 18-year-old Kayla Marie Eilerman, 18-year-old Clayre Marie Savage, 19-year-old Daveion Raaheim Green, and 20-year-old Brandon Munoz.

Investigators aren't sure why the four airmen from nearby Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter chose to damage the church, which appears on the National Register of Historic Places.

Dennis said that people think the church, which was founded by Scotch-Irish settlers in 1759, is haunted, but he doesn't know why, according to the AP. They were charged with malicious injury to a house of worship, criminal conspiracy and trespassing. Court records did not indicate if they had lawyers. The current brick church was built in the 1840s, with a slave gallery in the balcony.

The church was also one of a dozen found on lists in convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof's vehicle. Roof eventually went to Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, killing nine worshippers.

There has been no word from the military about any punishment the airmen might face, but officials at Shaw Air Force Base did release a statement expressing disappointment and denouncing the behavior as being unrepresentative of the airmen stationed at Shaw, reports WTOC.

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