Funeral held for Fort Mill shooting victim; Authorities undecided about charging gunman

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comMarch 31, 2014 

— David Hammer’s family said their final goodbyes Friday at Belair United Methodist Church in Indian Land.

“He was one-of-a-kind,” sister Crystal Hammer said of the brother killed by a gunshot to the chest. “He was a very giving person, very sweet, very quiet. He was just fun to be around.”

Hammer, 21, died at the scene of a March 22 shooting on Fort Mill Highway. Maj. Matt Shaw of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said Friday afternoon the incident is still under investigation. Law enforcement will meet with a solicitor to determine whether to file charges.

“It’s definitely not an accident,” Shaw said. “There is no question as to who shot (Hammer). The question boils down to, was he justified in doing so?”

On Friday, Hammer’s family remembered not his final hours, but a lifetime of making people smile. His mother talked about a son who constantly helped. Friends talked about “the biggest teddy bear” and the “best friend a man could ask for.” Crystal Hammer said he seemed more like an older brother despite her being born first, David always willing to help keep boyfriends in line.

Family also talked about a man who loved the outdoors. The Indian Land native was buried at the gravesite closest to a stretch of woods beside the church, which wasn’t by accident. Hammer’s mother recalls him saying he always wanted to be in the Indian Land woods.

Hammer most recently lived with his fiancee at 408 McCammon St. in Fort Mill, a quiet stretch of older homes just across from the Nazarene church on Harris Street. Four days prior to his death, Hammer posted a Facebook photo showing off an engagement ring for an August wedding.

Friends and neighbors continue to piece together what happened. The incident report from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office describes a frantic scene at 863 Fort Mill Hwy., at 2:20 a.m. March 22. Officers received a call for criminal domestic violence but learned en route someone had been shot. Deputies on-site heard “multiple subjects screaming and yelling” as Hammer lay on his back near an orange pickup truck, according to a sheriff’s office report.

Two women administered CPR as deputies arrived. One identified herself as Hammer’s sister, telling a deputy her landlord shot him, the report states. A suspect is identified in the report, but the name is redacted. No arrest was made.

The address is a shared driveway with a home on the left and mobile home on the right. A man answering the door at the home Thursday declined to comment on what happened. No one answered at the mobile home.

Initially, the Sheriff’s Office reported officers were dispatched to 872 Fort Mill Hwy. That address is across the street. Diana Norkett, who lives there, made the 911 call. Norkett said she witnessed some of the dispute before police arrived on scene.

“It was just absolutely unreal,” she said, adding that she heard a woman scream and saw people running back and forth in the yard.

She called police and kept a dispatcher on the line. The dispatcher, Norkett said, was able to hear everything going on.

She heard gunshots but did not realize someone had been hurt, assuming someone had fired shots in the air, she said.

“Indian Land is a wonderful place to live,” Norkett said. “I’m sorry this happened.”

Jonathan McFadden of The Herald contributed.

John Marks •  803-831-8166

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