A former sheriff’s deputy has been charged with murder – and another murder suspect is on the run from law enforcement – following the shooting of 27-year-old Mia Denise Tabb on August 15, 2023 at the Barrel House Grille in Walterboro, South Carolina.
Tabb was gunned down in the parking lot of this popular local tavern, which was frequented by many members of the media during this year’s ‘Murdaugh Murders’ trial in Colleton County.
The mother of two young children, Tabb belonged to a praise dance group at St. Mark AME church in Adams Run, S.C.
“She was an inspiration to the young and the old,” her obituary noted.
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In the aftermath of last week’s shooting, 47-year-old Tamika Suewanna Carter of Walterboro, S.C. surrendered herself to law enforcement. Carter was a Hampton County sheriff’s deputy and at the time of the shooting was employed by the law enforcement agency as a school resource officer in Hampton County.
Carter resigned her position with the agency.
Another suspect linked to the shooting remains at large. Marvis Jermaine Williams, 43, of Yemasee, S.C. is being sought by law enforcement. Both Carter and Williams have been charged with murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
According to a press release from the Walterboro, S.C. police department, Tabb was involved in an argument with Carter and Williams inside the restaurant, which is located at 104 Robertson Boulevard in Walterboro.
“The parties involved exited the establishment, but the argument continued in the parking lot,” the release noted.
Sources familiar with the incident disputed that account, though.
“For the record there was no argument between the parties that took place on the inside of the restaurant,” noted Brandy Padgett of Walterboro.
Wherever the argument began, it reached its deadly climax in the parking lot.
There, one of the two suspects fired a single gunshot at Tabb from a seated position in their vehicle – striking Tabb, who was standing in the parking lot at the time. Tabb was transported to the hospital where she succumbed to her wounds during the early morning hours of August 16, 2023.
The suspects were identified through witness statements and by evidence collected at the scene.
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Carter had been employed by Hampton County since 2018. Prior to that, she was employed by the Allendale police department.
“The Hampton County Sheriff’s Office is fully committed to upholding the highest standards of professionalism and accountability,” Hampton County sheriff Anthony Russell in a statement released August 23, 2023. “We are working closely and in full cooperation with the Walterboro Police Department to ensure a thorough and impartial investigation. We recognize the magnitude of the situation and remain dedicated to the pursuit of justice. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim’s family during this difficult time and we extend our sincere and deepest condolences for their loss.”
Both suspects have troubled pasts.
In 2012, Carter’s estranged husband – Marine staff sergeant Jerome Carter – was shot and killed as he tried to enter her residence. Tusvon Russell, who was at the scene when Jerome Carter was shot, fled before first responders arrived. Both Russell and Tamika Carter were questioned about the incident but no charges were brought against either of them. They claimed the gun discharged accidentally as they struggled over it.
As for Williams, court records from Hampton, Colleton and Jasper county tell the story of two solicitors giving him a pass on serious criminal activity. Of twenty-one charges filed against Williams from 1998 to 2022, only three were fully adjudicated. These infractions included charges for weapons, drugs, robbery, assault, murder and attempted murder.
In 2006, Williams was indicted for murder in connection with the shooting of Lacy Wright in Jasper County. However, the fourteenth circuit solicitor’s office failed to prosecute and dismissed it two years later. In September 2013, Williams was charged with attempted murder in Colleton County in connection with the 2011 shooting of 64-year-old Randall Herndon – who was shot three times as Williams attempted to rob him.
That charge was dismissed in November 2013.
Anyone with information regarding the Barrel House Grille shooting – or the whereabouts of Marvis Jermaine Williams – is asked to contact sergeant Whitlee Fisk with the Walterboro police department at 843-782-1031.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Callie Lyons is a journalist, researcher, and author whose investigative work can be found in media outlets, publications, and documentaries all over the world – most recently in the Parisian newspaper Le Monde and a German documentary for ProSieben. Lyons also appears in Citizen Sleuth – a 2023 documentary exploring the genre of true crime.
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