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Home invader shot by intended female victim
Sheriff says she "acted in a legal and responsible manner"

Originally ran here as:
Shots were justifiable, sheriff says
By Josh Gelinas, South Carolina Bureau, Augusta Chronicle
Friday, August 3, 2001

GEORGIA -- Aiken County Sheriff Howard Sellers said Conita Sims did the right thing Thursday when she shot Reginald Dewayne Wheeler.

''(Ms. Sims) acted in a legal and responsible manner, and for that reason there will be no charges brought against her,'' Sheriff Sellers stated in a news release.

He called the incident an ''obvious case of a citizen who refused to be a victim.''

Ms. Sims had filed a criminal domestic violence warrant Wednesday for Mr. Wheeler's arrest.

On Thursday morning, according to Sgt. George Burgess, Mr. Wheeler went to Ms. Sims' home in the 100 block of Vista Drive in Nicholson Village near Aiken and demanded to enter. He had previously lived in the home. The two were a couple, authorities said.

Investigators who responded to Ms. Sims' 911 call found a doorknob to the home blown off by a shotgun.

Shortly after Mr. Wheeler entered, Ms. Sims shot him several times with a handgun, according to Sgt. Burgess.

Mr. Wheeler was taken to Aiken Regional Medical Centers, where he was listed in serious condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Sgt. Burgess said there were children in the home during the shooting but they were not hurt.

Although no charges are being filed against Ms. Sims, Sgt. Burgess said Mr. Wheeler faces charges of burglary in the first degree.

Sgt. Burgess said he did not know why Ms. Sims requested the warrant for Mr. Wheeler's arrest. He said a criminal domestic violence warrant can be issued if a person has caused harm, threatened harm or made other terroristic threats toward another person.

Kay Mixon, executive director of Aiken's Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons, said domestic violence often is an issue of control.

''(Ms. Sims) probably feared for her life, and she took control,'' Mrs. Mixon said. ''When a batterer feels threatened he's losing control, he's got to get it back.

''I'm glad she stood up for herself. Hers has a better ending. So many women are killed in these instances.''

South Carolina ranked first in the nation in domestic violence fatalities in 1998, according to the Violence Policy Center in Washington.

Seven domestic fatalities have been reported in Aiken County this year.

Reach Josh Gelinas at (803) 279-6895.

Another Report of the Event

Man shot after home invasion
(Originally ran here)
By SANDY NeSMITH, Staff writer, Aiken Standard

An Aiken man remains hospitalized in serious condition with life-threatening injuries after an early morning home invasion in Nicholson Village.

Investigators with the Aiken County Sheriff's Office are looking into a shooting incident that occurred shortly after 2 a.m. today at a residence on the 100 block of Vista Drive, according to Sgt. George Burgess, a spokesperson with the sheriff's office.

Authorities said Reginald Dwayne Wheeler, 32, went to the home of Conita Sims, 32, of Vista Drive and demanded entrance into the home. Wheeler reportedly lived with Sims prior to the incident.

Investigators said the knob to a door of the home was blown off by a shotgun. Shortly after entering the home, Wheeler was shot multiple times.

Wheeler was rushed to the Aiken Regional Medical Centers emergency room with injuries Burgess described as life-threatening.

"The couple had a previous history of domestic violence,'' Burgess said. "And Mr. Wheeler was being sought by the Aiken County Sheriff's Office for domestic violence against Ms. Sims in an earlier incident.''

Burgess said no charges would be filed against Sims, but burglary in the first degree charges are pending against Wheeler.