Police officially classify fire as arson

Authorities have determined that a house fire in Montmorenci that killed a 28-year-old man and his 2-year-old daughter this weekend was an act of arson.


The fire happened at a home on Old Tory Trail just after 10 a.m. on Saturday, police have said. A passing motorist saw the fire and alerted authorities.


The father, identified as Dunkan Baker, died at about 3 p.m. at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, according to Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton. Baker’s daughter was pronounced dead at the scene. Both Baker and his daughter died from smoke inhalation and thermal injuries.


Investigators have determined that there were no “accidental means of ignition,” said Capt. Eric Abdullah, a spokesman for the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office. Additionally, the investigation revealed that there were “multiple areas of origin” inside the home, which classified the case as arson.


Physical evidence collected from the scene will be sent to the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division for analysis. Abdullah said investigators are following up on potential leads.


“Right now, we’re just waiting on evidence analysis,” he said. “They’re still conducting interviews.”


Man said he was robbed at gunpoint

An Aiken man was robbed at gunpoint by two men who gave him a ride to his home on Saturday, according to the Aiken Department of Public Safety. The incident happened about 4 a.m. on Saturday outside of the man’s Aldrich Street home, according to a report.


The 22-year-old man told officers that he had been “dealing with” city police officers who refused to let him drive home from downtown Aiken because he was intoxicated and under suspension for driving, according to the report. He then got a ride from two unknown black males in a silver Mazda 6 to his home.


When they arrived at the victim’s home, one of the suspects allegedly pulled out a chrome pistol, pointed it at the victim’s face and “demanded everything,” the report stated. The victim gave the men his wallet and contents and his cell phone, the report said.


The suspects reportedly told the victim they would kill him if he called the police. The men fled the scene in the silver car, driving toward York Street.


Man charged with shoplifting

An Aiken man accused of shoplifting from a store in Aiken Mall on Friday had reportedly stolen from another store earlier that day, according to Aiken Public Safety.


Brian Keith Williams, 46, of Whiskey Road, was charged with two counts of shoplifting and placed in the Aiken County detention center, where he remained on Monday afternoon.


Officers responding to the scene on Saturday were told Williams had fled on a moped toward Target and that he was suspected in a theft earlier on Saturday at Harvard’s on Whiskey Road, according to a report. Officers searched the parking lot and found Williams’ moped parked outside Sears. He soon returned to the moped and was detained.


Store employees said Williams left the store with several shirts tucked under his arm and placed the items in the cargo compartment on the moped before fleeing, according to the report.


Officers asked Williams if he’d been at Harvard’s earlier and he said he hadn’t, the report stated. He then immediately said he “had not done anything wrong at Harvard’s.”


The officer asked Williams whether he had not been there, or if he had simply not done anything wrong while there, and “he stopped responding.”


Security cameras at Harvard’s helped officers identify Williams as the man who allegedly took two bottles of champagne without paying, according to the report. The champagne was found in the cargo compartment on the moped, along with the shirts from the mall.