SUMTER COUNTY, S.C. (WACH) — Sumter law enforcement agencies are working together to clear the streets of illegal activities associated with rival neighborhoods.
According to the Sumter Police Department, seven men have been arrested for their involvement with illegal drug activity and a number of shootings in the southern and western parts of the county.
One of the shootings resulted in a teenager being injured. Another shooting resulted in the death of an innocent man.
In October, 54-year-old Marcus Brown as shot and killed on South Salem Street while sitting in his car. He was not the intended target in the shooting nor was he involved in any of the activity between the rival groups.
Browns death sparked a lengthy investigation, that is still ongoing with the Sumter Police Department as well as the Sumter Sheriff's Department.
Earlier this week both agencies arrested four brothers at a home on South Guignard Drive where arrest warrants were being served.
Once officers arrived at the home they found a quantity of marijuana, crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia and more than $3,500 in crash.
Charged were twin brothers Martiz and Markus Peterson, 28, their older brothers Harry Petterson, 30, and Jerome Singleton.
Markus was charged with distribution of marijuana-three counts, distribution of marijuana within a half mile of a school or park-three counts, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana within a half mile of a school or park.
The other three brothers were each charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and intent to distribute marijuana within a half-mile of a school or park.
Singleton was also charged with possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and intent to distribute crack within a half-mile of a school or park.
The four men were booked at the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center and bonds set, ranging from $5,000 and $40,000.
Last week, the combined efforts of law enforcement resulted in the arrest of three other men on various drug and firearms charges.
Kalvin Epps,21, was wanted for questioning in the shooting death of Brown.
Authorities say Epps fired shots at a home on Silver Street which caused other unknown suspects to retaliate and fire shots at a home on Salem Street where Epps often would hang out. Officers believe the bullet that hit and killed Brown was intended for Epps.
Also arrested with Epps was 27-year-old Rakim Butler and 20-year-old Hikeem Ward.
Bond was denied for Epps and Butler, who remain at the Detention Center. Ward was released on a $60,000 surety bond.
Deputies say in addition to Brown, the true victims are the many of people who live in the areas where the constant illegal behavior is happening.
Individuals associated with these groups/areas tend to be repeat offenders who are out on bond for previous criminal activity or were recently released from custody.
Victims and witnesses have been reluctant to come forward with information that could assist law enforcement.
Both the Police Department and Sheriff’s Office would like to encourage residents to contact law enforcement anytime they suspect illegal activity in their neighborhood.
Forming a Neighborhood Watch group can be an effective way to discourage illegal activity in a community.
For more information or to report suspicious activity is asked to call the Sumter Police Department at (803) 436-2700 or the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 436-2000. Always dial 911 in case of an emergency.
Tips can also be submitted anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.