Deputies nab Bluffton manhunt suspect

November 29, 2012 

Brandon Warren, left, and Javon Winston.

A Bluffton man who led deputies on a chase Wednesday after swimming across a pond in Bluffton has been arrested.

Javon Vincent Winston, 19, was arrested at about 8 p.m. near his home on Lawton Street.

Earlier in the day, Brandon Thomas Warren, 18, was arrested after a resident on Fernlakes Drive came home to find Winston and Warren in his home. The homeowner held Warren at gunpoint until Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived at about 2:30 p.m. The deputies then set up a perimeter in the area off Burnt Church Road, Bluffton Parkway and May River Road to search for Winston.

Winston and Warren have been charged with first-degree burglary for breaking into the Fernlakes residence.

The homeowner told deputies he left his home around 1 p.m., and as he was leaving the neighborhood, he noticed two black men walking into the subdivision. He returned approximately an hour and half later, and as he approached his home, he saw the same men in his backyard, a sheriff’s news release said. They appeared to have been carrying items out of the home and putting them under a tree in the yard, the release said.

The victim confronted the men, who then ran and jumped into a pond behind the home. Winston swam across the pond, but Warren was unable to swim. The victim immediately rescued Warren from the water, then held him at gunpoint as he called 911, the release said.

Deputies arrested Warren. They searched for Winston for two hours, but were unable to locate him.

They later found him at about 8 p.m. as he was leaving his home, and he was taken into custody without incident, the release said.

It appears that all but one of the handguns stolen from the Fernlakes home has been recovered. A search for the missing weapon will begin today in Fernlakes, with the Sheriff’s Office Dive Team checking the pond Winston swam in.

Both men are also suspected in an Oct. 29 burglary in the Meadowbrook subdivision in Bluffton, the release said. A handgun was also stolen during that break-in, but it was later recovered after Winston accidentally shot himself in the foot with it on Nov. 10, the release said.

Additional charges are likely as the investigation into these burglaries continues.

To report crime, citizens can call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC (274-6372) or text the word TIPSC with a message to CRIMES (274637).

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