COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A former soldier shot and killed an active duty member of the U.S. Army and three children at a home in South Carolina before killing himself, officials said Wednesday.
Two U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing criminal investigation, confirmed the information on the military affiliation of the two dead men.
The three children and two men were found fatally shot on Whitetail Circle in Sumter around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sumter police said in a news release. One of the men was believed to be the shooter, police said. There was no apparent threat to the public and authorities are still investigating, police said.
Images from outside the two-story single family home on Wednesday morning showed a memorial of flowers and three small stuffed animals.
The deaths were four killings and a suicide, Sumter County Coroner Robbie Baker said. A witness to the shootings was able to tell investigators what happened, Baker said.
It may be Thursday before the names of all the people killed are released because at least one involved is in the military, Baker said.
“It was a long night. This was just an awful thing,” the coroner said.
The adults who died in the shooting were a soldier assigned to the U.S. Army Central at Shaw Air Force Base and a civilian assigned to the group, Army Maj. Jason Welch said in a statement.
The Sumter School District is grieving the loss of three students, including two siblings who attended Millwood Elementary School and a third who attended Alice Drive Middle School, Superintendent William Wright said in a statement.