The Indian Land man accused of fatally shooting his stepfather before turning the gun on himself won’t serve a day in jail.
Authorities last week issued an arrest warrant for murder against James Calvin Pruitt, 51, in the May 1 shooting death of Robert Franklin Bethea. But the warrant will be inactive soon, Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile said.
“We won’t be able to serve it,” Faile said of the warrant. “He’s deceased.”
Pruitt died at approximately 5:48 this morning at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte of injuries from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Faile said. Pruitt shot himself during a near five-hour standoff with police last Friday.
Five days after the double shooting left Bethea’s body riddled with gunshot wounds, police remain clueless about exactly what triggered the shootings, Faile said. However, authorities believe the relationship between Bethea and his stepson was rocky at best, Faile said.
“Something was wrong,” Faile said.
However, there were no 911 emergency calls or other calls for help from either McAlpine Circle home, he said.
As a result of Pruitt’s death, Bethea’s murder investigation will be closed, Faile said.
“He shot his stepfather,” Faile said. “We know he did.”
Bethea, of 11215 McAlpine Circle, died May 1 after being shot multiple times, according to Lancaster County Deputy Coroner Marie Broome. The 74-year-old died in the center of his yard about 20 feet from his front door, she said.
Bethea was shot four times. One of the bullets hit Bethea’s heart, Broome said. An autopsy and toxicology test were completed Saturday, but results were not immediately available today from the coroner’s office.
Around 5:50 p.m. May 1, police responded to a shooting at 11215 McAlpine Circle. A neighbor told authorities she heard five shots while she was in her home and ran outside where she found Bethea on the ground.
An officer saw a door close at an apartment adjacent to Bethea’s home. That apartment is about 40 yards to the right of Bethea’s home, according to a report from Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.
Officers found Bethea lying face down in his yard, Faile previously told the Fort Mill Times. Hours after police arrived they heard what they believed was a gunshot and went into Pruitt’s apartment around 10:15 p.m. Inside, they found a man, later identified as Pruitt, on the floor with a self-inflicted shot wound.
Pruitt shot himself with a .38-caliber handgun that police found in his hands when they went into the apartment, Faile said. Pruitt was airlifted to CMC.
Now, a family grieves for two loved ones.
Police are waiting to learn if the .38-caliber handgun was used to shoot Bethea.
“We’re trying to tie up some things before we close the case,” Faile said.
Bethea’s death marks the first shooting investigated this year by the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.