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The Death of TJ Darrisaw: A Halloween Tragedy

Chevis is a prior law enforcement officer with 15 years of experience to include violent crimes detective.

Halloween in a Small Town

For TJ Darrisaw and his family, October 31, 2008, started like many Halloweens before it. After getting on his costume, consisting of a Ghostface mask along with a few spooky accessories, TJ and his family got into their minivan, heading to the downtown area of Sumter, SC. The town was hosting a block party of sorts which included games for the kids, entertainment for the parents, and of course plenty of candy for everyone. Unfortunately, this would be the last Halloween they would spend together as a family.

Unbeknownst to TJ and his family, another family across town was just getting into their home for the evening with no intentions of celebrating Halloween. Quentin Patrick was a 22-year-old young man who already had an extensive criminal history, including drug possession and trafficking. Patrick, along with his 19-year-old girlfriend and their two small children, had planned a night of quiet in their home.

TJ Darrisaw

TJ Darrisaw

"I thought I was being robbed"

Mask on, candy bucket in hand, TJ walked up to the front porch of the house, excited at the prospect of more candy. Once up the three steps of the small porch, he approached a traditional wooden door with three small windows across the upper section.

Patrick was sitting on the couch with his family when he heard a knock at the front door. Erica Pee, Patrick's girlfriend, stood up and looked out the windows of the door. She was met with a Ghostface mask, causing her to scream out in fear. Patrick jumped up, grabbed an AK-47 assault rifle he had leaned against a counter, and aimed it straight at the mask through the window.

The next few moments seemed to move in slow motion for everyone at the residence of 215 S Wise Dr. Patrick pulled the trigger one time, causing the fully automatic rifle to unload 29 rounds in a matter of seconds. More than a dozen bullets tore through young TJ, the first of which struck him in the head. TJ's younger brother and stepfather were also struck in the gunfire however TJ took the bulk of the bullets. As the gunshots stopped, TJ's lifeless body fell off the porch, landing on the ground in a pool of blood.

Patrick and Pee grabbed their children and fled the scene in the Dodge Charger that sat under the carport. Within minutes, law enforcement was on the scene, the first to arrive was Detective Ridgeway, a six-year veteran of the department assigned to the Violent Crimes Investigation Division. Upon the approach of the house, Detective Ridgeway observed TJ's body in the front yard, with his stepfather kneeling over him. Approaching the stepfather, Detective Ridgeway was caught by surprise as Patrick returned to the scene, stating that he didn't mean to shoot a child. "I thought I was being robbed" he cried out as he was quickly detained and removed from the front yard.

Quentin Patrick

Quentin Patrick

Murder and Obstruction of Justice

As the scene was secured, EMS quickly arrived and transported TJ's stepfather and brother to the hospital where they were treated for their wounds. Patrick was taken to the Sumter Police Department and a crime scene unit arrived to process the residence. Pee was found at a neighbor's house and was also taken to the Police Department for questioning.

During the interrogation, Patrick told police he had been robbed before, and thought he was being robbed again. Patrick would go on to state that he thought he was looking at a grown man in a mask through that window and didn't understand why a 12-year-old would still be out trick or treating. Patrick was subsequently charged with murder, two counts of Assault and Battery with Intent to Kill, along with multiple drug and gun charges. Pee was charged with Obstruction of Justice for trying to help cover up the crime and leave the scene with evidence.

In 2013, Patrick plead guilty to the Murder of TJ Darrisaw and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Patrick has also been sentenced to 16 years in federal court for the weapons charges.

TJ Darrisaw was buried in a grave across the street from where this tragedy occurred.

© 2020 Chevis B Ridgeway

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