Police: Homeowner not being charged in fatal shooting at this time

David Graham (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
David Graham (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
Anthony Andre Browne Jr. (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
Anthony Andre Browne Jr. (Source: J. Reuben Long Detention Center)
James Gagum
James Gagum

Conway, SC - CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Police say a Conway homeowner who shot and killed a man who threatened him and his wife at gunpoint is not facing charges at this time.

Sgt. Robert Kegler, spokesman for the Horry County Police Department, says officers were dispatched to a home at 3140 Wayside Dr. in Conway in reference to a home invasion and shooting. Upon arrival, investigators learned the homeowner shot and killed one of three suspects who broke into his home, demanding money and valuables.

Tony Hendrick of the Horry County Coroner's Office identified the man who was killed as Anthony Andre Browne Jr., 23, of Conway.

James Gagum says at least four shots were fired during the incident, one of which went through his home.

"It was him instead of me or me instead of him," Gagum said, noting Browne pointed a gun at him and his wife.

All three intruders fled the scene, but officials found Browne's body in a wooded area next to the location of the home invasion.

"He could not have ran that far because I knew I shot him with a .357 three times, square in the mid-section," Gagum recalled hours after the man's death.

Investigators questioned Gagum about the shooting, and he was released. Gagum contends he was just protecting his life, family and property. Kegler said Thursday that he will not be charged.

"You're left between them killing you now, or you killing them," Gagum said. "That's where we're coming to. It's coming to that point."

Two other suspects involved in the home invasion were believed to have fled in a blue SUV. A man and woman were taken into custody in Loris later Wednesday.

Kegler says the man, identified as David Graham, 34, of Loris, has been charged with first degree burglary, two counts of armed robbery, two counts of kidnapping and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Kegler says investigators are looking for a third person of interest at this time, but do not have a description.

Kegler says Gagum is not facing charges in the incident. Gagum says he was acting in self-defense.

Attorney Kirk Truslow, who is not affiliated with the case, says if someone is trying to break-in on a person's property, that person has the right to defend themselves. It's what South Carolina law calls the "Castle Doctrine."

"The rule in South Carolina has always been if you are in your own house, you do not have a duty to retreat," explained Truslow. "You can stand your ground [and] establish self defense without worry of the duty to retreat. That is known as the Castle Doctrine, and that's been law throughout the cases in case law."

Truslow says the doctrine has now been adopted into state law, and there is no requirement for having to run away or retreat from your home to protect yourself.

"In self defense, you can meet a threat with as much force as necessary to defend yourself, if you reasonably believe you are in fear of harm," said Truslow.

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