Senior citizen killed over French Bulldog
A 76-year-old man was shot and killed at the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Bishopville on Monday, February 6th. Lonnie Ray of Darlington had arranged, through Facebook Marketplace, to meet prospective buyers of his French Bulldog puppy at the 1073 Sumter Highway location. When he arrived, he and his friend walked, with the dog on a leash, to where the buyers were waiting. When Ray was asked if he had the AKC papers for the dog, Ray’s friend walked back to their truck to get the AKC (American Kennel Club) documents. While the friend was retrieving the papers from the truck, the buyers the dog’s leash and opened fire on Ray and fled the scene immediately. Law enforcement authorities said the suspects fired multiple handgun rounds at Ray, who was taken to a local hospital, where he died within an hour. Lee County Sheriff Daniel Simon said, “This is really bad. The elderly guy thought he was going to be making a sale to someone he thought he was trusting on Facebook and got here. Not only did he lose his dog, but, he lost his life in the process of it.” An autopsy of Ray’s body was scheduled for Friday, February 10, at the medical center in Newberry. Prices can reach as high as $2,500 for French Bulldog puppies. Investigators are looking at security video and ask anyone with information about the shooting to call 888-274-6372 or the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 803-484-5353. This is the third murder and second ongoing investigation in this area in the past 16 months. Previously, there were deadly shootings at Shell Gas Station and the Waffle House parking lot. Lee County officials confirm that $60,000 has been appropriated to purchase a highly sophisticated surveillance system in the area. The City of Bishopville has also reserved an additional $30,000 toward the camera project, bringing the total to $90,000 from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.