Four airmen stationed at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter are accused of spray-painting satanic graffiti on a historic church roughly 20 miles away.
The Sumter County Sheriff’s Office said a church member last month discovered the symbols painted on Salem Black River Presbyterian Church near the town of Mayesville. The 171-year-old building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Investigators estimated around $3,000 in damage.
Deputies identified those arrested as 18-year-old Kayla Eilerman of Ingleside, Texas; 18-year-old Clayre Savage of Port Barre, Louisiana; 19-year-old Daveion Green of Leeland, North Carolina; and 20-year-old Brandon Munoz of Baltimore, Maryland. A spokeswoman for the 20th Fighter Wing confirmed Friday the four were stationed at the air base.
A sheriff’s office spokesman said the four confessed to their actions and cooperated with investigators. The spokesman said the airmen indicated they were looking for “someplace haunted.”
“If you Google haunted places in Sumter, South Carolina, this church is one of the first places that comes up,” Deputy Ken Bell said.
All four are charged with trespassing, malicious injury to a house of worship, and criminal conspiracy. Trespassing is a misdemeanor, while the other two charges are felonies.
The sheriff’s department released security camera footage of the four at the church on Thursday. By the end of the day, they used tips to identify the suspects. “We want to thank everyone for the tremendous response to requests to identify these individuals,” Sheriff Anthony Dennis said. “It is apparent to us that Sumter County residents will not tolerate this kind of activity.”