Deputies investigating death of 23-year-old Sumter Co. man found Wednesday morning

Montrel Epps, 23, was found off McCray's Mill Road Wednesday morning


SUMTER COUNTY, S.C. (WOLO) —The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a homicide after deputies discovered a 23-year-old’s body Wednesday morning.

A deputy found the body of Montrel Epps, 23, off McCray’s Mill Road at 4:30 Wednesday morning while performing a property check. Epps’s car had been found in the area, leading them to begin their search. An autopsy for Epps will take place Saturday at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, according to Sumter County Coroner Robbie Baker.

This marks the first homicide in Sumter County in 2020. There were 14 murders in Sumter County last year, a number that is double the total from 2018.

Perry Bradley of Building Better Communities says one way to change the culture of gun violence in Sumter is to nurture stronger relationships between law enforcement and the youth they serve.

“We all know law enforcement can’t solve this alone. It’s going to have to be something where the community comes together, and they’re going to need help. Everybody has to do their part, but I think the more we get the police involved in the community, the more we could fix the problems we’re having in our community,” Bradley said.

Bradley says the growing number of homicides in his hometown are concerning, but he says people need to do more beyond saying that gun violence is not the answer.

“What if everyday you wake up and your only thought is survival, like ‘I have to get someone before they get me.’ You have to be a different way, and the only way you’re going to get them out of that situation is you have to offer them something different. You have to show them, you can’t just tell someone something, you have to show them that you care, that you’re going to be there, and no matter what they do, you’re going to back them 100%,” Bradley said.

Through events like roundtable discussions and cookouts, Bradley says the little things will go a long way in stopping gun violence from ravaging the community.

“That’s almost like my New Year’s Resolution to try and see if we can curb gun violence. You know most kids for Christmas now, they want a gun. That’s not a good thing, you don’t need a gun. You just need to be out here, doing what you need to do, and loving people,” Bradley said.

Building Better Communities will be holding a roundtable discussion with law enforcement and concerned members of the community on January 1 at Rehoboth Baptist Church in Columbia.

If you have any information on Wednesday’s incident, call the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.
Categories: Local News, News, Sumter