LANCASTER, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS/WBTW) — A man has been arrested and charged with murder after a 53-year-old man was shot to death Saturday night during a race at the Lancaster Motor Speedway in South Carolina, authorities said.
Lancaster police were called to the speedway at about 11 p.m. and found the victim, later identified as Rodney Cunningham, at the front gate by the ticket office. He was pronounced dead after being taken to the Medical University of South Carolina-Lancaster Medical Center.
Queen City News confirmed that Cunningham was an employee at the track, but it is still unclear as to in what capacity he was.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said Bryan Terrell Mitchell, 37, of Rock Hill, had been arrested after an “extensive manhunt.” He was charged with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.
After Mitchell was identified as the suspect, the sheriff’s office said the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the South Carolina Highway Patrol, Lancaster police and sheriff’s deputies tracked him down at about 3 a.m. Sunday at a convenience store on Charlotte Highway.
He was then spotted by authorities at about 5 a.m. and tried to flee into some woods, the sheriff’s office said. Authorities then set up a perimeter and used K-9 units and a helicopter to search for Mitchell, who was arrested at about 10 a.m.
A large crowd was on hand when the shooting occurred during the last race of the night at the half-mile dirt track. The sheriff’s office said deputies working at the track responded immediately and “rendered aid” to the victim until first responders arrived.
“Lots of folks were at the track last night, and a good number of people likely saw some or all of the events leading up to and including the shooting,” Sheriff Barry Faile said. “We have identified some of them but encourage others who we have not talked with to call the sheriff’s office and tell us what you know. We hope to positively identify the shooter and take him into custody soon.”