Bluffton shooting victim wanted on drug charge

rlurye@islandpacket.comJanuary 22, 2014 

Thomas Morris Bush

BEAUFORT COUNTY DETENTION CENTER

The victim of a recent drive-by shooting will be charged with intent to distribute cocaine, according to a spokeswoman for the Bluffton Police Department.

Thomas Morris Bush, 27, was shot in the lower leg Jan. 15 while outside his home at 83 Shults Road, authorities say. He was reportedly on his porch when a vehicle with its headlights turned off passed by and a passenger began firing, according to the Bluffton department.

Police also believe someone fired back at the vehicle, and investigators spent part of the next day combing the property and neighboring yards with a metal detector. Officers also searched Bush's home for evidence and say they found cocaine.

Police believe Bush has been released from Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, but they do not know where he is now, according to Capt. Angela McCall-Tanner. Bush, who at first told authorities he was shot while walking along Shults Road toward Goethe Road, has not been cooperative in the investigation, she added.

No one has been charged in the shooting, which still is being investigated, McCall-Tanner said.

Officers had dealt with Bush twice before in recent months, according to police reports.

On the afternoon of Oct. 5, officers were on their way to Bush's home because of a reported traffic collision when they received two separate calls of shots fired, according to a police report.

When they got to the home, a man who later identified himself as Bush began "barking at the officers," the report said. Several other people were standing around a silver Honda.

Bush, who appeared to be heavily intoxicated, told police he had been a passenger in a Ford F-150 that accidentally backed into the Honda. When he got out of the truck and tried to call police, the driver became angry and started to fight him, the report said.

The driver then got back into his truck and fired several shots into the air as he drove away, Bush told police. Neither Bush nor the driver of the Honda would provide more information about the suspect or his vehicle, the report said.

Police were again called to Shults Road at about 2 a.m. Dec. 6, after a report of a fight and about four shots fired, according to another report. Officers found Bush standing outside his home with blood on his shirt, it says.

He was uncooperative and repeatedly told officers they were not allowed on his property, the report said. After police told him they were investigating a possible fight, the man said he had heard people fighting but police had come to the wrong location.

Another neighbor told officers that was not true -- the fight and shots had came from the yard next to 83 Shults Road, according to the report.

Police searched the area and found two small bags containing cocaine, a single pill of the controlled substance Alprazolam and what appeared to be marijuana and black tar heroin.

McCall-Tanner said police are still testing the bag's contents, which have not been connected to a suspect.

Anyone with information can contact Lt. Tony Charron of the Bluffton Police Department at 843-706-4565 or Crime Stoppers at 888-CRIME-SC or sccrimestoppers.com.

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

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