LEXINGTON, S.C. - A South Carolina man shot an unarmed teenager to death after a scuffle at a weekend party thrown by his children, then shot two teens involved in a retaliatory shooting at his home, authorities said Tuesday.
Francis Marion Reeves III, 62, is charged with murder in the Friday shooting death of 17-year-old Deshaun Rashad Clark and was released on a $125,000 bond after a Tuesday court hearing.
The shooting is still under investigation, but prosecutors and authorities described a chaotic scene at the small party hosted by Reeves' children at the family's lake house in Lexington County, just west of Columbia.
Reeves' children claimed a cell phone was stolen. Someone accused Clark of taking it, and he scuffled with another person and was struck several times before leaving and threatening to return with friends, police said.
Reeves' son went to the family's other nearby home to get his father, who brought a loaded pistol and unloaded shotgun over to the lake house. The father was told that his daughter had been attacked at the party and watched as his son was attacked by three people.
After Clark returned with friends, Reeves shot him, prosecutors said. Partygoers scattered and friends took the injured teen to a fire station. He died at a hospital.
"He literally bled to death," prosecutor Rick Hubbard said.
Reeves' attorney, Dick Harpootlian, said his client acted in self-defense, fearing that he and his children were in danger.
"This is a tragedy. Anytime somebody dies, anytime somebody's killed, that's a tragedy, but one has a right to act in self defense," Harpootlian said.
Reeves returned to his home afterward and was sitting on the front porch when one of the slain teen's friends drove by and shot at his home in retaliation, police said. Reeves fired back with a shotgun, police said, striking two teens who were in the car. They were not seriously injured.
One of the slain teen's friends has been charged with assault with intent to kill in the drive-by shooting. Breon Jacoby Mayers, 17, remained in jail Tuesday after his bail was set at $100,000.
When deputies arrested Reeves on Saturday, he appeared intoxicated, authorities said.
"He was traumatized and upset about what had happened and had been up all night long. And he had several drinks," Harpootlian said.
Reeves did not speak about the shooting during the hearing Tuesday, but nodded to family members as he left the courtroom. Around two dozen family members of the slain teen also attended.
Family members described Clark as a soft-spoken and sensitive teen who planned to play sports at Chapin High School this year.
Family members and some residents of the community have speculated that race was a factor in the shooting — the dead teen is black and Reeves and his children are white — but authorities say race was not a factor.
Clark's uncle, Corinthea Stack, 49, said he feared that Reeves' release could cause more violence in the town just 22 miles from the state's capital.
"We don't want it to inflame ... more violence," Stack said.