Cousin of murder-suicide victim: 'He didn't have to take my friend'

Photos from the scene (Stacy Jacobson/WCIV)

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- North Charleston police surrounded a home in the Saddlebrook Mobile Home Park at the scene of a murder-suicide Tuesday morning.

According to a North Charleston Police Department spokesperson, officers responded to a home in the 4600 block of Thoroughbred Drive for a domestic disturbance between a male and female around 8:30 a.m.{}

Police said officers were able to clear several people from inside of the residence and as officers approached, two gun shots were heard.

"It was like, Pop! Pop! Two shots," neighbor Lina Gadsden said. "Then somebody [was] running, screaming outside, 'He shot my sister! He shot my sister!'"

"People [were] crying everywhere. Just in the blink of an eye, death just happened," neighbor Damian Gadsden said.

Once inside, officers located a male and female victim both deceased, officials said.

Dorchester County Coroner Chris Nesbit identified the homicide victim as Zakiya Lawson. He said the suicide victim was Peter Centel Williams. According to police, Lawson's sister was inside the home trying to convince Williams to release her sister and come outside.

Officers were preparing to breach the door, police said, when they heard the two gun shots.

Nesbit said Lawson had seven children.

Crystal Grant was Lawson's cousin. She was supposed to take Lawson to breakfast Tuesday, but that meeting never happened.

"Before I could call her, I got the call that this had happened," Grant said.

She said Lawson had seven children. Williams was the father of one of them.

"[Za]kiya was a loving mother, a good friend, an awesome daughter. She had seven kids that she's leaving behind now. This didn't have to happen to her," Grant said.

Grant said she didn't know Williams. Police said they had one child together, and broke up recently.

Grant said they have a big family and Lawson's seven children will have a home with family members.

"I just want her family and friends and every body out there to know that she will be truly missed. We all love her and she'll always be in our heart forever," she said.

North Charleston Police released a February incident report Tuesday afternoon. The report showed police arrested Williams for criminal domestic violence this year. The report indicated Williams had visited his mother's house to find Lawson and their son, 4 months.

Police said they got in an argument and he punched Lawson in the face, before he left. When police arrived, her nose was swollen and bleeding, the report said. She had already mopped some blood off the floor. She also told police in February the couple had ended their relationship a month prior, after dating for about a year.