Beaufort News

Sheriff: Ridgeland teen shot to death in dispute over ATV

Two teenagers feuding over a four-wheeler led to one being shot to death Saturday and the other charged with murder, Jasper County Sheriff Gregory Jenkins said Monday.

Jamonte Markal Simmons, 18, was shot and killed Saturday in a wooded area between homes on Rice Shire Road in Ridgeland's Spring Hill community. A 15-year-old boy has been charged with murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

The suspect is being held at S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice Detention Center in Columbia.

The murder Saturday was the ninth the Sheriff's Office has worked this year, Jenkins said.

"Devastating, chilling, cold, confusing," Jenkins said of Saturday's shooting. "These are our young people. It's very painful.

It's not only very painful for the family, but it's painful for law enforcement, because we're seeing it quite often."

Simmons' aunt, Lisa Simmons, told WTOC she was inside with her sister when they heard two gunshots and went outside to find Jamonte Simmons dead.

Jenkins said the dispute was over an all-terrain vehicle.

Two shotgun shells were found in the area, and a tip led to the recovery of a gun believed to have been used, Jenkins said. He said it has not yet been determined whether the weapon and shells were used in the shooting or how the teen obtained the weapon.

Jenkins said the teen suspected of Saturday's murder has a criminal history, though he did not detail his past charges. The sheriff said after the arrest, the teen had reminded him of a conversation they had shared in the past.

"He reminded me my words to him was to get his life together," Jenkins said.

The killing comes in advance of a community event the Sheriff's Office will host at Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School at 6 p.m. Wednesday during which Jenkins plans to urge community involvement to help solve crimes and cool disputes before they escalate to violence.