News conference 2 pm today on Pelzer shooting


Williams girlfiend facing murder charges in connection

By David Meade

Jared Michael Williams, the accused shooter in the triple homicide in Pelzer Wednesday, was released from Greenville Memorial Hospital Thursday and was transported to Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Thursday afternoon.

Anderson County Sheriff John Skipper has a news conference scheduled for 2 p.m today (Friday) to announce charges against Williams, 34, of 421 McAlister Rd., Williamston.

The sheriff’s office also announced Thursday that they had arrested Williams’ girlfriend Hope Kristian Phillips, 19, of Greenville in connection with the incident. Phillips is facing charges of murder, accessory after the fact and larceny.

Hope Phillips
Hope Phillips

 Williams arrived at the sheriff’s office in a wheelchair wearing blue hospital scrubs and socks. According to investigators, Williams injured his knee when he crashed a stolen truck into a house on Hwy. 86 in Piedmont following a chase that ensued after the shooting.

Victims fatally injured in the shooting are Wanda Renee Anderson, 43, listed on the initial incident report as residing at 226 Park Row in Piedmont and in later reports as residing in Pelzer; Victor Hunt Vandegrift, 48, listed on the initial incident report as residing at 172 Effie Drive in Piedmont and later from Columbia; and Hank William Eaton, 32, of 562 Old River Rd., Pelzer. A fouth victim, Tara Hendricks, was shot but survived.

Anderson County Deputy Coroner Don McCown has autopsies scheduled on the victims today (Friday).

According to recent reports, Vandegrift and Eaton both lived at the house on Law St. where the shooting happened.

It was not clear if the victim who survived the shooting, Tara Diane Hendricks, lived at the residence, however the initial incident report stated her address as 104 Law St., where the incident occurred.

Neighbors said the people living in the house had only been there for about a few weeks and that two men were often seen on the porch smoking cigarettes.

According to reports, the surviving victim Hendricks stated that the shooting stemmed from a verbal altercation which ensued between Jared Michael Williams and her brother, however investigators are still not clear which man was her brother

According to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office incident report, Hendricks told deputies that she was inside the house when a verbal altercation ensued between her brother and the alleged shooter, Jared Michael Williams.

Hendricks said the verbal altercation become heated and Williams pulled a handgun and shot her brother. He then shot the other man and then shot her.

According to the report, Hendricks hid under a bed as Williams waited for Anderson to enter the residence and he shot her when she entered the door.

104 Law St. Pelzer where the shooting occurred
104 Law St. Pelzer where the shooting occurred

According to reports, Williams fled the scene in a dark green Chevrolet truck. Phillips, the girlfriend who has been arrested, was with Williams when he left the scene of the shootings.

Williams abandoned the pickup he was initially driving and stole another truck from a construction site. That vehicle was the one deputies chased into Piedmont until it crashed into a residence on Hwy. 86.


The stolen truck Williams was driving when the chase ended with the vehicle crashing into a house in Piedmont.
The stolen truck Williams was driving when the chase ended with the vehicle crashing into a house in Piedmont.

Authorities said before the shooting, they were looking for Williams for questioning in connection with recent car thefts in the area. He was also wanted on fraud charges in Williamston. According to records, Williams pleaded guilty to armed robbery in 2005 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

After the shooting Wednesday, there were rumors on social media and in the Pelzer community that the shooting may have been connected to a car crash Tuesday night in which Hayley Gunter, 21, was killed.

Reports state the SC Highway Patrol did not believe Williams was involved in the crash, however he may have witnessed it. The driver of the vehicle in the crash in which Gunter died has been questioned but has not been identified or charged.

Gunter was killed when she was thrown from the vehicle. She was not wearing a seatbelt authorities said.

Hayley Breanne Gunter, 21, of 803 Holliday Dam Rd. Honea Path was arrested on drug charges in Williamston on February 17 during a drug bust on Tripp St.

Related stories

Shooting stemmed from argument
Alleged shooter, victim remain in same hospital
Shooting victims identified
Williamston man in custody in triple homicide – Pelzer
21 year old passenger killed in crash
Arrests possibly related to recent car thefts

Hope Phillips
Hope Phillips
Jared Michael Williams
Jared Michael Williams

Jared Michael Williams