Retired school teacher assaulted, robbed in her home; other incidents under investigation

News

BARNWELL, S.C. (WJBF) — A retired school teacher in Barnwell, South Carolina is recovering following a home invasion and assault.

“Under my watch, [this is the] first home invasion we’ve worked,” Barnwell Chief Brian Johnson told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk.

“That made me very concerned and I just wanted to know if she was alright,” Drayquan Allen said.

Allen is a neighbor of the elderly woman. He said that when he heard the ambulances, he sprang into action. “I took a closer look at what happened and I seen Ms. People getting put in the ambulance,” he recalled. “Telling me and my grandma that she was stabbed a couple of times and somebody took her car, too,” he added.

Authorities say a young male was in the woman’s home when she arrived. He attacked her, tied her in a chair, and robbed her.  Her vehicle was found a short distant from the crime scene Wednesday morning just after midnight. Chief Johnson says that his team is increasing patrols in the area due to other crimes.

“We’ve had two carjackings recently. We’ve arrested a suspect on that and thought that this had stemmed from the type of crime we’ve had and unfortunately I don’t think this is related to the carjacking, the home invasion, but we’re investigating all angles of it,” Chief Johnson said.

One carjacking happened in the Wal-Mart parking lot at around 9 p.m. on Monday, June 3. The victim was shot in the back following an altercation.

The other happened at the Colony West Apartments on Friday, June 7 at around 2:30 a.m. We’re told one bullet struck the victim in the back of his neck. A juvenile was arrested in that case. “I just ask the community to be aware of your surroundings in shopping center parking lots and everywhere they go.  If something doesn’t look right, call us and let us investigate,” Chief Johnson stated.

As for the victim in the home invasion, officials say she in good spirits and she’s with her family being taken care of.

“She’s an all-around good person,” Mary Stroman said. “You know if she could do something for you, she will. And it was just hurtful and and heartbreaking that someone would just invade a persons home and do something like that to them,” she added.

Stroman is the Director at the Gail Reyes Senior Center where the victim is a staple. “She comes here everyday.  She’s normally our bingo caller.  We love having her here she’s a very special person and we just love her.”

She said that when she first heard of the incident, she was shocked. “It was mind-bogging and mind-blowing that someone would actually want to do something like that to her because cause she’s an all-around good person,” she said. “You know if she could do something for you, she will. and it was just hurtful and and heartbreaking that someone would just invade a persons home and do something like that to them,” she added.

Many people Shawn spoke with both on and off camera just want justice to be served.

“I just hope whoever came in and invaded her home, and could just do something to a person like that i hope the caught them as soon as possible,” Stroman said.

“That lady did nothing to you. It makes no sense. None. I hope they find them and that they don’t come near where we are,” Allen added.

Authorities provided a vague description of the suspect. If you have any information, give the Barnwell Police Department a call at (803) 259-1838.

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