YORK COUNTY, S.C. - A Rock Hill man shot two people then turned the gun on himself Thursday outside a crowded convenience store near the Moss Justice Center courthouse in York, police said.
Officials said one victim was shot in the shoulder and the other was shot in the abdomen.
For Qdarius Hamer, life today is different than it was.
"I could have been dead yesterday. I was dead. I saw him shoot me," Hamer said.
He and two close friends, Frontez McKinney and Mikell Harvey, were about to walk into the On The Run Exxon station in York Thursday when a stranger started yelling at them.
They had no idea why he was even speaking to them.
"All I know is him say, 'Y'all better not talk about my homeboys like that, and we looked at him like, ‘Who were you talking to? We don't know you. Why are you in our conversation?’" Hamer said.
York police said 25-year-old Darryl Hinson Jr. went to his car outside of the store on the Highway 5 bypass and Highway 161, got a shotgun from the trunk and opened fire.
McKinney ran inside the store.
"No later than three seconds after the door shut, ‘Boom.’ Then he turned to my brother Gdarius, ‘Boom!" McKinney said.
Mckinney said he told store employees to call 911.
He saw Harvey, 40, shot right in front of him and then saw the Hinson turn the gun on himself.
Hamer stumbled through the trees and into the Waffle House behind the Exxon Station.
(Darryl Ray Hinson)
He said he doesn’t know how he got there and what he was saying when he was telling them he was shot.
A police officer arrived, cut his shirt off and began treating Hamer's injuries before EMS reached the scene.
The victims said there wasn't even time to make sense of what was happening or why a stranger seemed angry at them.
McKinney said he could tell something was wrong when Hinson first walked up to them.
"You could tell he was on drugs,” McKinney said. “His eyes were glossy, all big and glossy.”
York police told Channel 9 the incident was not about race, but McKinney believes it was.
"We were the only black people in that parking lot," McKinney said. "This was all about race."
The victims said Hinson did not use racial slurs, but may have felt intimidated by them.
Hamer said he isn't holding any hard feelings against the man.
"What you did was so unnecessary,” Hamer said. “I don't know what you went through in your personal life, but I forgive you.”
Hinson will face attempted murder charges. He has severe injuries to his face, but is surviving.
Harvey is also expected to recover and leave the hospital soon.
No employees or other customers at the store were injured. The store remained closed Friday.
Chopper 9 Skyzoom flew over the scene and could see the front door of the gas station had been shattered by gunfire.
Hunter Street Elementary School, Harold C. Johnson Elementary School, York Comprehensive High School and the York County District Office were placed on lockdown due to the shooting. The schools continued normal operations while the doors were locked.
The lockdown was lifted just before 2:30 p.m. and students were dismissed shortly after.
Police said they have been in contact with several witnesses and there is surveillance video from the store.
Everyone in the area appeared visibly shaken up by what had happened.
A couple from out of town were sitting by the motel pool when the gunshots rang out. The husband, who works in security, and the wife, who is a nurse, rushed to the scene.
They said they heard four distinct blasts from the shotgun and that the first shot hit a man within close range, while a second man ran away, toward a nearby Waffle House, when the second and third shots were fired.
“I stood up and I looked in the direction where I heard it from and I see the big puff of smoke and the guy go down,” witness April Parker said. “Just to see it with my own eyes, I don’t know how I'm going to deal with that.”
April Parker’s husband, Bill Parker, said the couple tried to help the victims without assuring their own safety.
“I thought it was two guys shooting,” Bill Parker said. “Here he was just running. He was getting shot at.”
“He was kind of turned where I couldn’t see if he had a gun in his hand,” April Parker said.
A Waffle House employee said the second victim staggered into the restaurant and said, "My boy got shot. My boy got shot.”
A witness described seeing the last moments of the tragedy unfold.
“I guess he missed that last shot and then just turned around and fired on himself,” witness William Hannah said.
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