DILLON COUNTY, S.C. (TCD) -- A 31-year-old man stands accused of fatally shooting a 54-year-old elementary school principal inside a car over the weekend.
According to WBTW-TV,on Sunday, Aug. 21, at 3:15 a.m., Dillon County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to Southwind Road for reports of shots fired and found a deceased woman inside a car.
The Dillon School District identified the victim as Dr. Wendy Cook, who was the principal at Stewart Heights Elementary School.
WBTW reports the suspect, Kyle Church, was still inside the car with the deceased Cook when deputies arrived. He was arrested on suspicion of murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
The Dillon County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the arrest and charges by sharing a post from a local news reporter.
According to WBTW, Church and Cook knew each other, but the extent of their relationship was not immediately known.
WMBF-TV reports Church lives on Southwind Road, the same street where Cook was found dead.
According to WPDE-TV, the Dillon County Coroner ruled her death a homicide and said Cook died from a gunshot wound.
South Carolina State Superintendent Molly Spearman wrote in a statement, "I am saddened by the passing of Dr. Wendy Cook, principal of Stewart Heights Elementary School. Her colleagues and friends in Dillon County School District 4 talk about the great work she did leading her school and the many impacts she had on her students and staff. My deepest condolences are with the entire Dillon school community as they grieve this loss."
WMBF reports Church is also involved in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a 2020 ATV accident. He was allegedly driving the vehicle with Teddy Yarborough in the front seat, and the ATV collided with a SUV while crossing the highway. Church allegedly did not have the right of way, and Yarborough died from his injuries sustained in the crash.
Church remains in custody at the Dillon County Detention Center.