Andrew Dys

Fort Mill neighborhood 'shocked' by daytime killing

Kids rode bikes in a quiet neighborhood in quiet Fort Mill on Thursday.

Other kids played in yards, ran across the street to hang out, and still more got off the school bus and walked home with their rosy wonderful futures ahead of them.

The place is so quiet and peaceful, kids needed no one to walk with them from the school bus, or back and forth to nearby apartments where buddies live. The only sound was the bounce, bounce of a basketball, and the connection of ball to rim.

"The children walk back and forth, they play; we feel safe and love it here," said Sheril Corrales, on the porch of her beautifully kept-up home of seven years, across the street from 141 Webbs Mill Drive.

A police car drove by. Corrales and her mother, Miryam Posso, waved because they know the officer. The officer waved back.

"About the only time we see police is because they are neighbors," said Corrales. "My kids play here all the time. We never feel threatened by anything."

Also on Thursday, in the morning before the kids of the neighborhood played so carefree after school, just around the corner, police say that one of those neighbors who lived at 141 Webbs Mill Drive was gunned down by her ex-boyfriend.

The woman's son, just 16 and a freshman at Nation Ford High School where dreams are made, also was shot outside the neighboring apartments before he had a chance to go to school and dream about his future.

Now, that kid has no mother. Two younger children have no mother now because of gunshots.

The coward - James Diago, 38 - who allegedly killed Jackie Craine and wounded her son is now where cowards who shoot women belong: in jail. He may never get out.

"He deserves whatever they give him," said Teresa Edwards, who lives just two doors down from where Craine lived with her children. Edwards stood on her driveway and said that no mother, no person, deserves to be killed by gunshots.

"This guy took the mother of three children; he's ruined lives including his own," Edwards said. "She was a quiet lady. Very nice and respectful children. A good neighbor. And to take her life? Senseless. Yes, he deserves whatever he gets."

Another person who lives across the street from Craine, and has lived there for 10 years, said the neighborhood is safe and quiet - and Craine was quiet.

Killings in Fort Mill are rare. The town with about 10,000 people is so cozy that for football Friday nights in the fall, the Main Street is closed for a post-game party.

But there are times when violence threatens Fort Mill. In February 2008, at a convenience store, former Fort Mill Mayor Charles Powers and a Vietnamese immigrant shop owner were shot after an armed robbery by a man named Phillip Watts.

Powers and Yen Nguyen recovered. Watts got eight life sentences for shooting four people.

"But I told people then, and I would tell them today, a shooting like what happened to me is not the Fort Mill I love and live in, where I was mayor for 24 years," Powers said Thursday after hearing of the shootings. "This happened, like it happened to me, but that doesn't make Fort Mill the place a dangerous place.

"I just grieve for the victim and her family, those kids. I hurt for them."

The great Charles Powers, who served his community for a quarter century, then was shot in the face, knows both the pain and grief and the usual peace and quiet and joy of living in Fort Mill.

Around the corner, a couple hundred feet from where Craine lived, lives John Lind, originally from Brockton, Mass. - the home of boxing champs Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler and a place the Lind family left, hoping to leave violence behind.

"That kid, her son who was shot, was right across the street here, playing, yesterday," Lind said. "Super kid. This is a great neighborhood. Quiet. safe. We love it. I'm shocked this happened here."

Kids played in Lind's front yard, jumping and laughing and giggling, because kids are supposed to do that in neighborhoods like this.

Ashley McDonald and Alan Newman, both 19, said the neighborhood and town of Fort Mill are "so safe" that both walk downtown from the neighborhood all the time.

"Sometimes we are out late, 2 in the morning, and never worry about anything," said McDonald. "Nothing ever happens here."

Except Thursday, when a mother of three died, from gunshots fired by a man police say shot her and her son. All in a neighborhood where just hours later, kids ran and leaped with joy.