CLOVER Willie Lowery was working in his garden near the rear of his Regal Road home Thursday when he heard gunshots coming from the mobile home next door.
He ran inside the home and found Catherine Morrison, who appeared to have been shot in her right side, he said Friday at his home.
Lowery told Morrison to stay on her back, and he wouldn’t let her get up when she tried to get something to drink.
“I said, ‘You’ve got to breathe,’” Lowery said. “She seemed like she was going to go out.”
Kevis Thomas, 21, of Clover broke into the home at 214 Regal Road and shot Morrison, 18, before shooting himself with a gun stolen from an acquaintance, said Trent Faris, York County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
Thomas was pronounced dead at the scene around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, York County Coroner Sabrina Gast said.
The shooting happened in a neighborhood just north of Oakridge Middle School and S.C. 557, which runs between Clover and Lake Wylie.
State Law Enforcement Division records show Morrison and Thomas have never been arrested in South Carolina.
Officials at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte said Morrison was in critical condition Friday. No one was at Morrison’s home on Friday.
Lowery said he believes the gunman broke through a window pane on a door on the north end of the home.
Khadaijah Kendrick, 16, said she saw Morrison, her cousin, on Wednesday.
Morrison and Thomas had dated at some point, she said.
“I never thought anything like that would happen,” Kendrick said, adding Thomas seemed like a “laid-back, cool person.”
Ernestine Phillips lives down the street, but she didn’t know Morrison and spends most time inside her house or at church. She says there have been shootings in the neighborhood before.
“It’s awful,” she said. “I try to keep myself safe and stay out of the neighborhood.”
‘Life hanging in the balance’
On Friday, Lowery retold the sequence of events calmly in between tending to chores with his grandsons outside his home.
One of those chores was to patch up the hole in Morrison’s door.
While waiting with Morrison, Lowery said, he knew the gunman was still inside the home, but he didn’t know his condition. He told Morrison’s grandmother, who lived with her, to go next door to his house while he waited with Morrison for the ambulance and police to arrive.
During that time, he said, he was “wondering how I’ll deal with this if I have to” – meaning if the gunman came into the room where he and Morrison were.
Lowery stayed with Morrison until the police came, guns drawn as they searched the home, he said.
“I never got upset,” he said.
One thought helped him stay focused: “Here’s a person’s life hanging in the balance.”