A St. Helena Island man has been charged with murder after the fatal shooting in Beaufort on Saturday that police believe may have resulted from a dispute over drugs.
David Legree, 29, is accused of shooting and killing 48-year-old Michael Edward Smith in a home on Adventure Street, according to a department news release.
Police had been searching for Legree since he evaded a Beaufort Police Department officer in a foot chase near the crime scene and dodged a containment perimeter set up by law enforcement from the department, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office and the Port Royal Police Department.
Described as a tall black man with dreadlocks who wore jeans and a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey at the time of the murder, Legree was seen leaving the Adventure Street home by witnesses who also reported hearing gunshots, authorities say.
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Beaufort police officers discovered Smith fatally shot at the home shortly before 5 p.m.
Other witnesses reported seeing Legree near some apartments in the 1900 block of Duke Street. An officer spotted him lying down in a wooded area behind the apartments, but Legree escaped after a foot chase.
He was then presumed to be hiding in the attic of an abandoned house nearby. For more than two hours Saturday evening, officers set up a containment perimeter.
But a search of the home by the Sheriff's Office SWAT team and K-9 units proved fruitless.
Investigators worked through Saturday night interviewing witnesses. Meanwhile, agents from the S.C. Law Enforcement Division collected evidence to process at their lab.
The investigation is active. A "dispute over drugs" is believed to have been the motive, according to the release.
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