DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) – A manhunt continues for a person who escaped while at the Darlington County Courthouse on Monday.
According to information from the Darlington County Sheriff's Office, the suspect is Shanard Keondre King, 23. He was sentenced to nine years for a crime on Monday and is currently wanted for escape.
Darlington County Sherrif Wayne Byrd said the courthouse was thoroughly searched by a bloodhound team Monday afternoon and King was not found inside the building.
"He was here for trial and trial was over, he was being sentenced by a judge and when the judge announced his sentence, it's our understanding he moved like he was speaking to a family member or something and ran to the back of the courtroom and was able to escape out the stairwell and hallway," Byrd said.
Witnesses who were able to identify King said they saw him run by the alleyway near the historical commission building across the street from the courthouse. Byrd said the suspect's girlfriend dropped him off for his trial and she hasn't been seen since. No courthouse employees actually saw King leave the building.
Byrd said the county has had several discussions about the lack of security and how outdated the county courthouse is.
"It was designed at a time courthouse security was not a major concern and it's certainly, you know, it was very useful in its time but it's outlived that," he said. "The safety and security here has been a major concern for us and the county administrators for quite some time."