Neighbors worried about string of deadly shootings

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Loved ones of a shooting victim on Ventura Street comfort each other just steps away from where her life ended. The New Year's Day crime has some neighbors in the Wando Woods community of North Charleston on edge.

"I didn't see nothing. But I did hear, you know, a couple of pops. But it sounded like firecrackers. We weren't sure if it was a gun or fireworks because they had been shooting fireworks all day," said Angie Owen.{}

She lives near the crime scene.

Owen says her daily routine is now changed. It's a reflection of Wednesday's deadly shooting.

"I'm not opening up my door freely now. And I'm, you know, more aware of looking out the windows and stuff and seeing different vehicles in your neighborhood that you haven't saw before," said Owen.

Officials say the shooting happened on the 4400 block on Ventura Drive shortly before 7 p.m. Police were called to a reported shooting and found a woman on the floor inside a home there.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Thursday, the coroner's office identified the victim as 49-year-old Debra Randall Martin. She died from a gunshot wound to the back, officials said.

INTERACTIVE: Track the locations of shootings across the Lowcountry in 2014

"I think they can probably see this as one isolated event.{} It has been a very quiet neighborhood and community," said District 5 City Council member Todd Olds.

He's been in contact with North Charleston Police about their investigation. While he wouldn't say what was discussed, he has his own idea about the crime on Venture Street.

"I don't think it's some random shooting where someone's just going around shooting women," said Olds.

And he maintains that the city, despite the rash of shootings to start the year, is still safe. "Absolutely. It's a great place to live, work, and play," he said.

Until detectives solve all three crimes, people like Angie Owen want everyone to stay on guard.

"Just be wise and pay attention in your neighborhood what's going on," said Owen.

The Ventura Drive shooting was the third of the day Wednesday.

Early New Year's Day morning police responded to two other shootings; one of them was fatal.

According to a police report released Thursday, someone knocked at the door of an Aintree Street home and as she started to open it, the suspect opened fire. Several shots went through the door and hit the woman in her head and hip.

One of the men in the house told police he thought that his son might have been the target of the shooting.

Just a few blocks away, a similar shooting happened at nearly the same time.

The victim's son told police that someone knocked at the door, and when his mother answered, that person opened fire. She later died at MUSC.

The coroner's office on Thursday identified the Niagara Street victim as 52-year-old Janet Royal, of North Charleston. Coroner's officials said the autopsy was complete, but did not say where Royal had been shot.

Police have not released a motive for the shootings or any information about a suspect.

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