Prayer vigil held in Eutawville, community seeks answers in deadly shooting

By Nikki

EUTAWVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) Many people in the tight-knit community of Eutawville gathered for a prayer vigil Wednesday night at the Church of the Epiphany.

On May 2, 2011, investigators say then-police chief, Richard Combs, shot Bernard Bailey, 54, three times outside of town hall. Bailey reportedly went to town hall to fight a traffic ticket, but what led up to the shooting still remains a mystery.

"What we're looking for is closure and disclosure because there's certain information that we can't obtain until it has been settled," said Rev. Gralin Hampton, who knew Bailey for 20 years.

Michael Sheedy worked with Bailey at Lieber Correctional Institution for several years.

"There's more to it than what we know and what we hear," he said.

As the community prayed for justice, they also prayed for peace -- not just for the former corrections office who lost his life but for the man accused of taking it.

"It's like an open wound that needs to be healed," said Henry Damon, a Holly Hill councilman who also knew Bailey and his family.

After Bailey retired as a corrections officer, he worked part-time at Wal-mart. Those who knew Bailey considered him to be a "gentle giant."

"He would be the last person you would expect something like this to happen to," said Damon. "It's very frustrating because something like this, God forbid, this can't happen again."

Combs eventually lost his job. However, no charges were ever filed.

"Knowing Bernard for the person he was, it just doesn't work out to the end that came about with Bernard. That's not the Bernard I knew," said Sheedy.

Until they get answers into what really happened that fateful day, Hampton says moving on is impossible.

"If we move on, it will repeat itself again and all human life is precious in the sight of God," he said.

Federal authorities say they won't press charges. When ABC News 4 asked solicitor David Pascoe if and when state charges might follow, he could only say that the case is still under investigation.

Bailey's family did file a wrongful death lawsuit following the shooting.