LANCASTER COUNTY, SC (FOX 46) - A 43-year-old man was found shot to death in his front yard late Thursday night, according to the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said at 11:33 p.m. Thursday, March 2 they were called to Craig Manor Road near the White Oak Manor long term care facility.
A woman called 911 and she heard screaming and gunshots. Deputies arrived and also spoke to a resident of the area, who also heard the gunshots and directed the deputies to 262 Craig Manor Road, the home of victim Harnish J. Patel, 43.
Deputies said the Patel home is directly across the road from White Oak Manor. Deputies found Patel lying in his front yard a few feet from the side door to his home. Lancaster County Emergency Medical Services personnel responded, as did a deputy coroner, and Patel was declared dead at the scene from apparent gunshot wounds.
Many in the community said they're heartbroken to hear this very giving man was killed.
"I don't understand why anyone would do anything like that to such a nice person. He would give the shirt off his back and it was a busy store, and he was great to everybody. I never heard him say a harsh word to anyone."
"We could be on a scene somewhere or have something going on with the agency, he was one of those guys that would send water, crackers just anything he could to help law enforcement, just a great guy," Sheriff Barry Faile said.
The scene was processed and evidence was collected. The scene was cleared at about 4:30 a.m. Friday, March 3.
An autopsy is scheduled for some time Friday.
Patel was the proprietor of the Speedee Mart located at 1416 Pageland Highway in Lancaster. He closed his store and left in his silver Toyota Sienna minivan at 11:24 p.m. Thursday night.
Investigators believe he drove from the store directly home, where he was confronted by his killer when he got out of the vehicle.
“We ask anyone with information he or she thinks might be related to this incident in any way to please contact us,” said Sheriff Barry Faile in a written statement, released on Friday. “If you saw anything at the store, in the area of Craig Manor Road, or anywhere in between, let us know. Even if you think it is not important, it could be the lead that solves this case.”
Anyone with information about this or any other case should call the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at 803-283-3388 or Crimestoppers at 888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372).