FOREST ACRES, SC (WIS) - Deputies are still looking for a man investigators say shot a Midlands mother five times as she drove through an ATM in Forest Acres.
The Elgin woman was shot at about 9am Wednesday at an ATM machine outside of the Bank of America on Trenholm Road in Forest Acres.
The victim, 55-year-old Lynne Thompson, of Elgin, was transported to the hospital where died of multiple gunshot wounds to the torso.
Forest Acres Police Chief Gene Sealy said the thief drove off in the woman's vehicle. He does not yet know how much money the robber took.
"The victim was in her vehicle at the drive through at the ATM when she was approached by this individual," Sealy said.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, authorities said a man approached Thompson's vehicle and demanded money or her vehicle, a white Honda Odyssey van.
"The only thing we can tell right now, the motive would be robbery. We don't have any numbers, money or any amount of anything right now," Sealy said.
Authorities say the suspect fired five shots, which hit her while she was in the van. Then, authorities say she either got out or was dragged out of the vehicle.
"Unfortunately our victim was shot numerous times. And after she was shot, she was removed from her vehicle," Sealy said.
The suspect left the scene in Thompson's van and dumped it on Cox Street near Two Notch and Beltline.
Lt. Bryant Hinson from the Forest Acres Police Department said, "From the videos that we do have it does appear as if it is probably a robbery that has gone bad. And we do have several witnesses at the scene which observed the vehicle leaving."
Witnesses reported seeing him get out of the van, with Thompson's purse, and run away.
That lead them to search the area near WA Perry Middle School, about a half mile from the place the man was seen.
Law enforcement were on the scene around noon. The Richland County Sheriff's Department searched the area with their helicopter and their dogs. Police say they had a trail, but it went cold.
The victim's purse and van have been recovered, but the suspect is still at large.
Investigators describe the suspect as a black male, 5'9" to 5'10", about 30 to 40 years old with a scruffy beard. He was wearing a brown jacket and dark pants and what appears in the pictures to be a dark brown knit cap.
Lynne Thompson's only child, 19-year-old Jesse Thompson, spoke to reporters outside his mom's home.
Thompson was away at college when he got the news Wednesday morning.
He says the death of his mother is especially hard right now because she and his father were going through a divorce.
His mom was also in the process of moving out of her Elgin home.
Thompson says he doesn't know what his mom was doing at the ATM. He hopes the community helps deputies bring the killer to justice.
"It all was caught on camera which is very fortunate. They have clear images of the person who did this and I would appreciate any help with people who may recognize him; that's very important to me. The instant was clearly recorded. The police know as much as anyone," Thompson said.
The Presbyterian College student freshman was comforted by his church pastor.
"They handed the phone which had my dad on at the time and they told me very straightforward what happened," Thompson said.
Thompson got the call away at school. He said he spoke to his mom for the last time Tuesday.
"She just wanted to let me know she was back from St. Louis and she said she would talk to me later in the week. I told her I loved her and I had planned on calling her today," Thompson said.
It was a conversation they never had.
This difficult news for the grieving son is compounded by the fact that his parents were in the middle of a divorce.
Of the many emotions, regret is one he's facing.
Thompson said it's "just little things that you look back upon and remember that your parents do you have to appreciate before they're gone and you can't say thank you."
One source says the victim appears to have tried to resist her attacker. That could have been at least one reason the robber opened fire.
For all the damage he did, the killer got away only with whatever the victim had in her purse, because she never took money from the ATM.