Suspect charged in Beaufort armed robbery that left Marine dead

rlurye@islandpacket.comNovember 23, 2013 

Kelsey Terrell Dent

An 18-year-old Illinois man has been charged in the Friday night shooting that left a U.S. Marine dead.

Kelsey Terrell Dent of Belleville, Ill., is charged with armed robbery, accused of helping to orchestrate a drug deal that turned violent in Beaufort's Mossy Oaks neighborhood, according to a Beaufort Police Department news release.

Dent, at least two other suspects and the 20-year-old Marine who was shot to death had planned to meet another individual to buy marijuana, the release said. The group reportedly planned to rob the pot seller during the drug deal.

At some point during the transaction off Hookstra Drive, Dent and the man who was killed reportedly pulled out fake pistols, police said. The drug dealer pulled a real gun and opened fire, striking the Marine several times, the release said.

Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen said the man's next of kin were notified Friday night. Under military requirements, Allen cannot release his identity for 24 hours, he said.

When police arrived at the scene around 9:30 p.m. Friday, they found a silver sedan parked in the middle of Hookstra Drive. The shooting victim was in the backseat and taken by ambulance to Beaufort Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A friend, who was uninjured, was in the driver's seat.

Dent's Facebook page indicates he is a Marine as well. He is being held at the Beaufort County Detention Center with bond set at $25,000.

The release did not say whether other suspects were in custody, but said other charges are pending in the case. Attempts to reach Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy by telephone were unsuccessful.

Friday's shooting shattered the relative calm of the Mossy Oaks neighborhood, residents said.

Gerald Wynn was sitting inside his house watching a television program about the Kennedy assassination when he heard about five shots.

In his 30 years living in the area, Wynn said, he "never had anything like this happen."

Neighbor Crystal Stepp was sitting in her carport when she heard the shots. After seeing a man running down the street, she rushed inside to get her children, took them to her in-laws' home next door, and called 911.

Stepp said she saw the silver sedan go by three times before stopping in the road. She heard people shouting, "Put down that gun!" and saw two people run toward a Hookstra Drive home and two head down Mossy Oaks Road.

"For something like this to happen here is unbelievable," she said.

The investigation is ongoing, police said.

Anyone with information regarding this case may contact Investigator Dowling at 322-7958.

Staff reporter Erin Moody contributed to this report. Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

Related content:

Marine dead, suspect arrested in northern Beaufort County shooting November 22, 2013

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