‘Children’ who baited and robbed people in Midlands are wanted, SC sheriff says

Two teenagers have been arrested and a search is underway for four other wanted people, some called “children” by the Sumter County sheriff, after they robbed two victims, shooting one of them multiple times.

Five teens, including three minors, and a 22-year-old used prostitution and drugs to lure victims to a home where they were robbed at gunpoint, the sheriff’s office said Saturday in a news release.

The incident happened Thursday at a residence on West Patricia Drive, according to the release. That’s in Sumter, between Pocalla Road and Manning Road.

Once the victims arrived at the residence and offers of sex and drug use began, three armed males entered and robbed the two victims at gunpoint, the sheriff’s office said. Cash and cell phones were stolen, but one victim refused to surrender his vehicle, and shots were fired, according to the release.

One of the victims was struck multiple times — in the face, abdomen and leg — and is currently in critical but stable condition, the sheriff’s office said.

No other injuries were reported.

Through assistance from the community and victim identification, six people were identified as being involved in the crime, according to the release.

The two who have been taken into custody are juveniles: 17-year-old Tahjae Franklin and a 16-year-old girl, the sheriff’s office said.

The other four wanted by the sheriff’s office are Diamond Briana Miller, 18, Cryshaun Nerome McKenzie, 17, Semieon Zaire Helton-Hill, 18, and Jaquante Taymont Montgomery, 22.

“Of all six suspects in this violent crime, the oldest is 22 years of age. Three are juveniles, just children, all participating in baiting and robbing the victims,” Sheriff Anthony Dennis said in the release. “When they couldn’t get everything they wanted, they tried to kill them. These suspects need to contact law enforcement and turn themselves in.”

The investigation is still on-going and more charges are possible, the release said.

Crimes like these often go unreported because the victims are participating in unlawful or embarrassing activities, the sheriff’s office said.

The West Patricia Drive and surrounding area has been the scene of multiple drive-by shootings in the past few months, according to the sheriff’s office.

Several arrests have been made, including that of a juvenile who lived at the residence where Thursday’s incident occurred, according to the release. That residence has been used for previous crimes and is now abandoned, the sheriff’s office said.