Close-range shotgun fire mangles Aikenite's hands

Aiken Public Safety officers walked along Richland Avenue near Sumter Street where a man was shot at close range with a shot gun Monday afternoon.

An Aiken man's hands were severely mangled after he threw them up in front of his body while he was being fired at from close range by a gunman with a shotgun. Maurice West, 36, of the 400 block of Union Street, was walking down Sumter Street around noon Monday when, he claims, a group of men in a car approached him and shot at him. Although he was hurt, the injuries to his chest and shoulder were superficial, police said. The motive for the shooting is still unknown, but police spent much of the day retracing the victim's steps and talking with witnesses. Police found a round from the shotgun and one from what could be another firearm involved, but they have not said whether West was also armed. After the victim was struck, he ran from the intersection at Sumter Street and Richland Avenue to a home on Kershaw Street, where he was able to get someone to call for help, said Sgt. Aaron Dowdy, Aiken Public Safety spokesperson. "You can see the blood spatter where he was shot and then follow that across the street," he explained. The victim was taken to the Medical College of Georgia from the Kershaw Street home. The officers had gathered some preliminary information about the shooter, saying they had identified him by his "street name" and had a vehicle description, but Dowdy said no charges had been filed. According to police reports, the officers are looking for "Bebe." The victim has not told police whether he was robbed or knew the gunman, only that he knew the man's girlfriend. "This is all still under investigation," the sergeant said. Aiken Public Safety first received phone calls around noon from residents who reported hearings shots fired. One witness spotted a man in a silver car armed with a gun, the sergeant added. Another caller saw three men running. The vehicle believed to be involved is a silver two-door car. It may have been a Mustang, Dowdy added. Contact Karen Daily at kdaily@aikenstandard.com.