Lonnie A. Ray of Darlington County, SC, had been breeding and promoting canines for some time, and he knew the security precautions to take when arranging a sale, in accordance with Lee County Sheriff Daniel Simon.
On Monday evening, Sheriff Simon mentioned Mr. Ray, 76, introduced a good friend with him for a proposed $2,500 sale of a French bulldog to be held in a public place — the parking zone of a KFC in Bishopville, SC
However the deliberate on-line sale by no means materialized. As a substitute of discovering a purchaser, Mr. Ray was attacked by three or 4 folks and shot not less than thrice, the sheriff mentioned. Additionally they took the canine, a pet. Mr. Ray died an hour later at Carolina Pines Regional Medical Middle in Hartsville, SC
“He’s a most cancers survivor, he was within the Vietnam Warfare. He survived that,” Sheriff Simon mentioned. “He thought he was simply promoting a canine. Not solely does he lose the French bulldog, he misplaced his life within the course of.”
The attackers additionally shot Mr Ray’s good friend, a 77-year-old man, however he was unhurt. The three to 4 attackers had been nonetheless at massive on Wednesday night, the canine remains to be lacking.
“We consider they’re armed and harmful,” the sheriff mentioned. “It’s inappropriate. It’s simply pointless and heartless.”
The brazen and lethal theft was notably stunning provided that Lee County, a producing and farmland group of about 16,000 about 50 miles from Columbia, SC, usually solely has about three to 5 homicides a yr, the sheriff mentioned.
French bulldogs have turn out to be some of the costly canine breeds in america, with costs generally reaching $6,000 for a pet. And individuals who have them have more and more turn out to be victims of gunpoint robberies in locations like Miami, New York, Chicago, Houston, and throughout California.
In 2021, Girl Gaga’s canine walker was choked and shot to demise throughout a theft of the singer’s two French bulldogs in Los Angeles. The shooter was sentenced to 21 years in jail.
Video footage from a digital camera at KFC, which is off Interstate 20, didn’t seize the capturing, Sheriff Simon mentioned. The sheriff’s workplace cleans up smudged footage from a safety digital camera at a close-by comfort retailer.
The attackers face potential prices of homicide, tried homicide, grand larceny and possession of a weapon throughout a violent crime, Sheriff Simon mentioned.
Mr Ray, who was retired, was a canine lover who took excellent care of the animals he bred, which used to incorporate looking canines along with French bulldogs, the sheriff mentioned. He’s the daddy of two sons and two daughters, he mentioned.
Mr. Ray offered his French bulldogs after they had been between six and 12 weeks outdated, Sheriff Simon mentioned.
An post-mortem will likely be carried out on Mr. Ray Friday morning, mentioned Lee County coroner Larry Logan, including that officers will then be capable to verify what number of instances he was shot.
Mr Logan mentioned he acknowledged Mr Ray instantly when he was known as to the hospital on Monday evening. The 2 hunted raccoons collectively greater than 30 years in the past.
“Lonnie was an excellent man,” he mentioned.