Beaufort News

Man fends off 3 attackers with machete at St. Helena migrant camp

A man at a St. Helena Island migrant camp fought off three attackers with a machete early Sunday, severing one man's finger and sending another to a Charleston hospital with serious injuries.

Rafael Solano-Silverio, 25, had been drinking with three other men at the camp at 53 Storyteller Road when a fight broke out and the three men attacked him, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

Bystanders broke up the fight. Solano-Silverio went home, and the men who attacked him left.

But shortly before 4:30 a.m., the three entered Solano-Silverio's home, dragged him outside and brutally assaulted him, according to arrest warrants.

In an effort to escape, Solano-Silverio grabbed what authorities believe was a machete and began swinging at his attackers, the Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies arrived at about 4:30 a.m. after witnesses reported a stabbing. All four men were taken to Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

Geraldo Lopez, 23, was treated for several cuts and later released. He was charged with first-degree burglary and first-degree assault and battery by a mob. He remained at the county detention center on Monday, according to the jail log.

The two other attackers suffered more severe injuries. One was taken to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston for a head wound. The other is being treated locally for cuts, including a severed finger, according to the release. They are expected to face charges.

Solano-Silverio has not been charged because he apparently acted in self-defense, the Sheriff's Office said.

"We don't know what caused the initial dispute, but right now it appears that they ganged up on him, and he tried to fend them off," Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Sgt. Robin McIntosh said.