People in the small town of Pageland are shocked after hearing details of arrests made in the shooting of a store clerk.
A witness told investigators that Maria Elena Rios-Reyes was shot after handing money to the suspect and reaching for the phone. Rios-Reyes was rushed to the Pageland airport and then airlifted to the hospital.
Thursday morning, Police Chief Larry Brown announced that four people are being charged in connection with the armed robbery at La Tienda Mexican Store Sunday night.
Devonte Rivers, 19, is charged with attempted murder and armed robbery. According to Chief Brown, Rivers pulled the trigger.
Three of his friends, Elontea Meadows, Cordarious Robinson, and Mitchell Meadows are all charged as accessories. Police say they knew about the crime for days and did not report it.
“We interviewed Devonte Rivers. He gave us a confession of the crime,” Brown said.
Rios-Reyes is recovering at the hospital after surgery. She is expected to make a full recovery.
Lynn Deese and her husband own the restaurant next door. Since the shooting, she said workers have been escorted inside by police.
She let out a sigh of relief Thursday. “I'm glad they caught him and she's OK. I just wish he took whatever and left her alone,” Deese said.
Rivers is well known in the community. His parents own Rivers Graphics, a store just across the street from the crime scene.
Nicholson said he knows the family well, “I know the young man, he is so fine. I fitted him in his tuxedo for the prom last year." "Had everything going for him, and I can't believe it. I just can't believe it,” said Nicholson.
Police say two witnesses came forward with information on Wednesday.
According to investigators, Rivers ran to his house after the crime and called his friends for a ride.
After eating at a Pageland Pizza Hut, Brown said the four left to buy beer in Monroe, North Carolina with some of the stolen money.
“He told all his three other friends what happened in detail, and they came back to Pageland, hung out, went back to Monroe, bought more beer,” Brown said.
Brown said money was also used to purchase cocaine, car parts, and even to help with a move into a trailer home.
It's unclear exactly how much was stolen. Brown said Rivers confessed to taking $1,000.
Rios-Reyes' husband, Arturo Martinez, said Tuesday morning's surgery went well and that his wife is recovering.
Rivers is being held without bond. Elontae and Robinson's bonds were set at $50,000, and officials say Meadows' bond will need to be set by a Circuit Court judge because he was already out on bonds for burglary and grand larceny charges.