Crime & Public Safety

29-year-old Bluffton man killed in fast-food restaurant shooting on SC 170

Police investigate fatal shooting at Bluffton Wendy’s on Thursday night

Police were on scene after a fatal shooting Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, outside Wendy's on S.C. 170 in Bluffton.
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Police were on scene after a fatal shooting Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, outside Wendy's on S.C. 170 in Bluffton.

The victim of a fatal shooting Thursday at Wendy’s on S.C. 170 in Bluffton has been identified by the Bluffton Police Department.

Abraham Gadson, 29, of Bluffton, was shot around 8:30 p.m. inside the restaurant and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a department news release.

Debbie Youmans, deputy coroner for Beaufort County, said an autopsy is planned at the Medical University of South Carolina, and will likely take place Monday or Tuesday.

“Nothing formal has been determined as the autopsy has not been done,” Youmans said.

Bluffton Police are “sifting through evidence, and witness statements gathered at the restaurant last night,” the release said.

Gadson is believed to be a former employee of Wendy’s, Capt. Joe Babkiewicz, spokesman for the Bluffton Police Department, said Friday.

A suspect has not been identified, he said.

Employees of Wendy’s and Parker’s declined to comment on the shooting Friday morning.

When asked if customers were inside the restaurant at the time of the shooting, Babkiewicz said “we can say we do have witnesses that were inside the restaurant.”

He could not say where exactly in the restaurant the shooting took place.

On Thursday night, Babkiewicz said police believed it was an “isolated incident,” and there was “no reason to believe anyone is in danger.”

The unidentified suspect left after the shooting, Babkiewicz said. The suspect’s vehicle and the direction in which it left the scene had not been determined, he said Thursday.

The coroner was on the scene about 10:15 p.m. Family members also were arriving at the scene.

Crime-scene tape surrounded the fast-food restaurant around 10 p.m. Thursday as investigators walked around the building with flashlights. A group of Wendy’s workers huddled in front of Parker’s convenience store, which shares a parking lot with the fast-food chain.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Ryan Fazekas at 843-706-4513, or the Bluffton Police Investigations hotline at 843-706-4600, the release said. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling the South Carolina Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-888-CRIME-SC (1-888-274-6372).