COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) —
A decorated 20-year member of the U.S. Army has been identified as one of the five people killed in a shooting Tuesday night at a South Carolina home.
Command Sgt. Maj. Carlos Evans, 38, was killed by a former soldier in an attack that officials say left three sleeping children dead while their surviving mother frantically sought help.
The ex-soldier, Charles Slacks Jr., then killed himself. Slacks and the woman were divorced, but he used a key to enter the home in Sumter around 10 p.m. Tuesday, Sumter Police Chief Russell Roark said Wednesday.
Slacks, 42, killed his own children, 5-year-old Aayden Holliday-Slacks and his 6-year-old Aason Holliday-Slacks, and also killed their half-sister, 11-year-old Ava Holliday, Sumter County Coroner Robbie Baker said. Before the divorce, Slacks had been Ava’s stepfather.
Slacks had just begun working as a budget analyst with U.S. Army Central last month, according to Major Jason Welch. Slacks served as a tracked vehicle mechanic from June 1999 to July 2006, Welch said, and had been deployed to Iraq and Kuwait in two separate stints.
Evans worked with the children's mother and happened to be at the home, Roark said. Evans had no relationship with the woman outside of work and investigators do not know why Slacks came to the home, Roark said.
“CMS Evans was well known and respected by all, and the influence and impact he made within the unit will never fade,” Lt. Gen. Patrick D. Frank said Thursday in a statement offering condolences to his family. “We collectively mourn the immense loss of his presence in our lives.”
The Virginia native joined the Army in July 2002 and served in Iraq and Kuwait among other tours in the Middle East, Welch said. Evans was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and another recognition for valor under fire, according to information from the U.S. Army.
“He was a hero,” State Sen. Thomas McElveen, a Democrat who represents Sumter, said Thursday.
Associated Press writer Jeffrey Collins contributed to this report. James Pollard is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.