18-year-old St. Helena man shot; officials say incident not gang related

achristnovich@islandpacket.comJuly 26, 2012 

A 38-year-old Beaufort man was charged with attempted murder in connection with a shooting Thursday afternoon on St. Helena Island, a day after the sheriff held a community meeting about violent crime in the area.

The incident, however, is not related to previous shootings in which officers suspect gang-like activity, Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner said.

Quinton Ventriss, 18, of St. Helena was outside a relative's house on Ladson Road at about 1 p.m. when Andrew Jerome Graham Jr. allegedly walked up and began shooting, according to Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Sgt. Robin McIntosh. Ventriss was shot once as he ran away. He was taken to Beaufort Memorial Hospital for a non-life-threatening injury.

Witnesses said the shooter fled in a gold Honda Accord. Deputies en route to the scene spotted a vehicle of that description, stopped it and arrested Graham near Folly and Seaside roads, a news release said.

Graham is "believed to be the sole suspect in the shooting," McIntosh said.

The shooting occurred less than 24 hours after Tanner hosted a community meeting at St. Helena Elementary School to talk about increasing crime in the area. That meeting focused on violent crimes committed by members of gang-like groups and how investigators struggle to coax witnesses to testify against them.

Tanner said the shooting Thursday was not related to group violence and was "completely separate" from the problems deputies usually encounter in investigating crimes in the area.

"It was one person who had a beef with the victim about something completely independent of what we've been going through on the island," he said, adding investigators had "100 percent cooperation" from the victims and witnesses.

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