DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Two individuals breaking into a Hartsville home were surprised by the homeowner, who shot one of the suspects before law enforcement arrived and took the burglar into custody.
According to a Darlington County Sheriff's Office press release, Willie Bernard Huggins, 23, was charged on Wednesday with first-degree burglary. Deputies continue to search for the other individual who was involved in the incident, which happened at a residence on Ousleydale Road in Hartsville on Jan. 16.
Homeowner Derrell Broom said he shot Huggins in the back as the suspects ran away from his house.
"I just tried to put him down until the law got here," Broom said. "This is a quiet neighborhood we are all old and disabled and we all look out for each other and I've never had nothing like this happen. That's the first person I've ever pulled a gun and shot, and I hope I never have to do it again."
Broom added the two suspects ran away too fast before he could call 911.
Huggins went before a judge on Thursday and a $25,000 cash surety bond was set. Judge Craig LaCross also put a restraining order on Huggins.
"I don't want you to return to where the crime was committed," LaCross said to the suspect. "It's very important you do not contact the victims involved."
Broom said it was his barking dogs that compelled him to go outside, where he saw the two men breaking into his house.
"I said, 'Who are you?' Then, boom, they left like a streak of lightning, but they didn't get too far before I got one of them," he said. "But it didn't even slow him down. I mean, they were gone before I could even get to the window. There was no sight of them anywhere."
Huggins' next court date is March 15 at 9 a.m., at the Darlington County Courthouse.
The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information can share tips by calling the DCSO at (843) 398-4501.