LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. — Lexington County deputies are looking for any information about a masked man they shot fatally shot an 8-year-old child early Tuesday morning.
Deputies say a man was invading a home on the 100 block of Cedar Vale Drive when the shooting happened.
Both the suspect and a man who lived in the home reportedly exchanged gun fire during the incident. The man who lived in the home suffered a non life-threatening gunshot wound, but a child, identified as 8-year-old Mason Hanahan, was shot to death.
Hanahan was pronounced dead from a gunshot wound at a local hospital, according to the Richland County Coroner's Office.
The community is devastated and shocked that their neighborhood was the site of a such a tragic death.
“That is not what our neighborhood is," said Diane Brock, who has lived in this neighborhood since 1986. "This is a wonderful place to live. It’s been a real sad cloud to realize what happened.”
She says it's hard to imagine a child that young would have to go through something like this.
"I will have to say when I found out how the little boy was only eight," she said. "I just had to cry. My grandson is only seven."
Michael Parnell, who has also lived in the area for the last couple of decades, doesn't know how anyone could have shot and killed a child.
“I hope that that was an accident. If he was cold blooded enough to shoot an innocent child, I don’t see any reason for that," Parnell said.
The community plans to get together to talk about ways they can improve safety and be on the lookout for anything suspicious.
As for this case, deputies are still looking for the suspect, who may have suffered a gunshot wound during the incident. He was wearing a mask while he was inside the home, according to witnesses, so a description is not available at this time.
“We’re still working to piece the sequence of events together but getting a name on the man who fled the scene will be the most helpful to us,” said Sheriff Jay Koon. “The death of the young child during this incident is tragic and our hearts go out to his family.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.