Cops are looking for two men they say robbed and shot a man at his Greenville apartment complex Saturday night. Greenville Police said the cold weather the Upstate had that night — and are in for again starting Tuesday — could increase your chance of becoming a victim too.
In Gene Taylor’s 16 years as Anderson Co. Sheriff, he was never shot.
“I didn’t even have any close calls,” said Taylor.
He never thought it would happen just taking his groceries out of his car.
It happened in the parking lot of his Greenville apartment complex, Preserve at Woods Lake.
“Just like some stupid movie or something, he had a bandana like a little cowboy. And he had a gun that looked like a little cowboy revolver and said, ‘Give me your money or I’ll shoot,'” said Taylor.
Taylor said he tried to wrestle the gun away. That’s when a second robber wearing a Halloween mask hit him in the neck. Then they shot him in the leg. He handed over his money and ran away the best he could.
“Bullet went in here, right out there,” said Taylor, pointing to his bandaged thigh. “And it’s swollen up about the size of a cantaloupe.”
Greenville Police Public Information Officer Johnathan Bragg said the cold weather that night creates opportunities for crimes like this to happen. There aren’t as many people out and about, so there are fewer witnesses.
That left Taylor banging on doors looking for help.
“I was watching a movie, actually, and I heard a big, loud banging,” said Michael Davis, Taylor’s neighbor.
Davis opened his door to see his neighbor lying on the ground with blood soaked through his pants. He called 911 and helped make a tourniquet out of a belt to stop Taylor’s bleeding.
On Monday, Davis was still sweeping up the absorbent litter first responders threw down to soak up the blood.
He said he’s never felt unsafe at the complex before.
“No, never. That’s what made me move here when I got out of the military,” said Davis.
Police said it’s rare for them to get a call about a violent crime at the Preserve at Woods Lake complex. Bragg said it’s unlikely the complex was targeted. More likely, the robbers were driving around looking for someone out by themselves in the cold.
Bragg said a handful of neighbors heard the gunshots, but none of them saw the confrontation. With no witnesses and no good description of the suspects or their car, police are relying on the public to come forward with tips.
“Idiots are idiots and they may boast about it, and somebody could hear it,” said Taylor.
If you know anything about this crime, call Greenville Crime Stoppers at 864-23-CRIME.
If you find yourself in a similar situation to Taylor’s, police said you should hand over your money. They also said you should try to be a good witness by remembering as many details as you can about the robber’s appearance and what their vehicle looks like.