Police chief: Teen shooting could be gang-related

by: Alexa Ashwell Updated:


CHESTER, S.C. - Investigators released new information Sunday about the shooting death of a Chester teen.

Police Chief Andre Williams told Channel 9 Robert Graham,17, admitted to investigators he fatally shot Shyheim Kennedy, 16, on July 16.

Chief Williams also said Sunday he believes the shooting was gang-related. 

“Gangs are a growing problem in this community and it needs to stop,” said Williams.

Chief Williams said Graham is a member of Round Tree Circle.  RTC is one of four gangs that plague Chester.

“There is RTC, 10-4, E-Block and 135 Piru,” said Chief Williams. “It’s troubling. These are teens and young men who are usually between the ages of 16-22.”

Chief Williams said he doesn’t believe Kennedy was involved in a gang but with members of 10-4 when they were confronted by Graham  just minutes after someone fired shots at his fellow gang members in RTC territory.  He said no one was hurt during this incident but believes Graham shot Kennedy in retaliation. He also specified neither Graham nor Kennedy were at the previous location where shots were fired.

Sheyheim’s father again called his son’s death senseless outside a funeral home in Chester Sunday.

Family and friends were gathered for Sheyheim’s viewing.  His funeral will be held Monday afternoon.

In a previous interview with Channel 9, Sheyheim’s father said he moved his son to North Carolina to get him away from the street activity in Chester.  He said his son had moved back to stay with his mother but only for the summer.

The father said he fully supports the police department’s efforts to get the gangs out of the city and prevent more senseless deaths.

“It’s going to take the entire community,” explained Chief Williams.  “I’ve met with the Sheriff and I plan to meet with area pastors as well. We’re going to organize a town meeting.  We want parents to attend this meeting. We want them to take part in getting teens involved in other activities and deterring them from gangs.”

Williams suggested for parents to talk to their children and get involved in their lives.  He said signs of gang affiliation are typically found in specific colors or clothing worn, tattoos and other symbols.

A date has not yet been set for the town meeting.

Chief Williams said Graham could appear in court as early as Monday. 

To view Kennedy’s obituary and arrangements, click here.