'What a sad day’: Dillon Co. community mourns after store owner killed during robbery

Updated: Dec. 13, 2019 at 7:45 PM EST
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DILLON COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The owner of a Dillon County convenience store was killed in a robbery Thursday night, according to Capt. Cliff Arnette with the Dillon County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident happened at JW Bailey’s convenience store on Highway 301, just south of Dillon.

Dillon County Coroner Donnie Grimsley said 77-year-old John Walter “J.W.” Bailey was killed.

“He always had that smile when you walk in that store and he didn’t complain. He didn’t talk about anybody,” longtime friend Grace Calhoun said.

Neighbors said Bailey usually worked during the day, but offered to cover for an employee, the night the store was robbed.

“I got on the phone, called all my friends, ‘Is it true, is it true?' They said, ‘Yes it is.’ What a sad day,” friend John Cannon said.

A white ribbon is tied to the doors of JW Bailey's convenience store where the owner was killed...
A white ribbon is tied to the doors of JW Bailey's convenience store where the owner was killed in a robbery Thursday night.((Source: WMBF News))

Keith Bailey, the owner’s son, said his father owned the store for nearly 45 years. He was also a member of the Dillon Fire Department for more than 50 years.

“He would help people when they needed help. He would give the shirt off his back,” cousin Harvey Bailey said.

“If you were short, couldn’t get something to eat, he fed you,” Cannon said.

Bailey’s body is being sent out for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

It was not immediately known if any suspects are in custody. Arnette said deputies are “actively working” the case.

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