2 men charged for shooting, killing man, pregnant teen in Anderson

South Carolina News
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Two people who were killed in a shooting at an Anderson apartment complex early Friday morning have been identified.

The deadly shooting happened around 1:15 a.m. at Fairview Gardens Apartments on Williamston Road. 

Anderson Police Capt. Mike Aikens said officers were already in the area when the shootings were dispatched just before 1:30 a.m. 

Aikens said police noticed a suspicious vehicle leaving the complex at a high rate of speed and tried to stop the vehicle, which sped away and led them on a chase.

The chase continued over the Georgia state line with Hart County officers assisting.

Hart County Sheriff Mike Cleveland told 7News Friday that he was part of a chase Thursday night involving persons of interest wanted for their connection with two possible homicides.

Cleveland said the vehicle they were chasing was a Volvo with a Clemson sticker on the vehicle, and said the car was going around 90 mph the entire way down Highway 29.

According to Cleveland, the chase was approximately 30 miles total from Anderson County to Hart County.

Sparks were coming from the vehicle and deputies couldn’t tell whether it was gunfire, so he backed up away from the car, Cleveland said. 

Cleveland said Anderson Police were reportedly still following the vehicle at this point and when he and the Anderson office got closer again, the suspects stopped their vehicle.

Authorities then reportedly surrounded the car and shouted for them to get out of the vehicle, which they did and got on the ground.

Cleveland said the two suspects were arrested and said he believes they were taken right back to Anderson by police.

According to Cleveland, Anderson Police will issue their charges first and then they will also face charges in Hart County.

Capt. Aikens said Brandon Omar Cullins, 21, and Demetrius Kentrell Mark, 31, were arrested and are being charged in the shooting. 

Anderson County Deputy Coroner Brent Simpson identified the victims as Ezquiel Estrich, 23, and Margaret Danielle Blanding, 18. 

Simpson also confirmed that Blanding was pregnant at the time of her death.

Simpson said Estrich lived at the address where the shooting took place, but Blanding did not.

According to arrest warrants, Cullins shot Estich multiple times in the chest and leg with a handgun. He also shot Blanding in the upper left chest area. 

Mark knowningly assisted Cullins in disposing of the gun after the murder, according to warrants. 

Cullins and Mark both admitted to their crimes, according to the arrest warrants. 

Cullins has been charged with two counts of murder, death to a child in utero during the commission of a violent crime, possession of a deadly weapon during a violent crime and first offense failure to stop for a blue light.

Mark has been charged with accessory after the fact to a murder.  

Cullins and Mark were denied bond. 

A background check through SLED showed that Cullins had been previously charged with third degree assault and battery, shoplifting, giving false information, first degree burglary and petty larceny less than $2000. 

A background check through SLED showed that Mark had been previously charged with assault and battery in 2010.

Property management at Fairview Gardens Apartment issued the following statement on Friday afternoon:

“Our thoughts go out to the victims and their families involved in this incident.  This is currently a police matter and we are unable to provide any details at this time.”

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