Former neighbors say Wagener suspect was violent man

Ken Myers recalled as heavy drinker who liked to shoot his guns

Kenneth Myers was unpredictable.

A former neighbor of the quadruple homicide suspect described Myers as a frightening man who ranged from a Bible-toting believer who talked of the ministry to a well-armed threat who liked to shoot his arsenal of guns.

Kenneth and Sunshine McLeoud said that, sadly enough, they weren't surprised when they heard their ex-neighbor had killed someone. They just couldn't believe he killed four people.

One of the victims was Myers' ex-girlfriend, Esther Baldwin.

"When he shot her, he took away my best friend," Sunshine McLeoud said Wednesday.

State and local authorities are still trying to determine what led to the killing of four women at Myers' hands and then his own suicide.

Police say he fatally shot his 25-year-old wife, Angela Myers; her twin sister, Tabatha T. Brown; and their 50-year-old mother, Vicky May Hook Brown, on Saturday. He then headed to the home of his ex-girlfriend, 47, on Big Branch Road, and fatally shot her before taking his own life after a police chase.

Sunshine McLeoud recalled calling authorities several times after hearing a commotion from Baldwin and Myers' home.

McLeoud knew what Myers was capable of because he repeatedly had pulled a gun on her husband.

The first instance, Kenneth McLeoud said, was when he and Myers were going on a fishing trip. As Myers drove, he pulled out a loaded handgun and put it to his neighbor's head. He later claimed he was testing the man he often referred to as "his best friend."

It was a gun Myers carried in his pocket at all times.

The next time Myers pulled a gun on her husband, Sunshine, a former detention officer, met him with her own gun and a 911 call.

"I made it back into my house, but he stood at the fence line and yelled, 'I'm going to kill your whole family!' " Ken McLeoud said.

The family said that when officers arrived more than an hour later, Myers was gone and officers didn't seem concerned.

"I wouldn't let my kids play outside," Ken McLeoud said. "I was scared of them standing near windows. The guy could have moved through my house and never left his porch. That's how afraid we were of Myers at this point."

He wasn't always like that. Myers often quoted the Bible and spoke of plans to go into the ministry. He also frequently apologized to the McLeouds and blamed the devil for his actions.

He spoke with Ken McLeoud of his militia experience in Detroit and said he had buried antibiotics, ammunition and other survival items just in case.

MYERS HAD BEEN charged in Aiken County with having an open container in 2008, assault and battery in 2009, and disorderly conduct and thoughtless driving in 2010.

Sunshine McLeoud said Baldwin confided in her that Myers was verbally, but also physically, abusive. He refused to let her have a job, wear makeup or leave the home. One time, he pulled a gun on Baldwin and pulled the trigger, but the gun was unloaded.

"She let me know when I chose the friendship, it made him angry," Sunshine McLeoud said of her friendship with Baldwin.

When Myers left Baldwin nearly two years ago for Angela Myers, Sunshine McLeoud recalled Baldwin as being "relieved but also frightened."

The women ran into each other a week ago and planned to meet for dinner.

"She looked fabulous, and I let her know," McLeoud said.

After the discovery of the first three victims, a man came forward with information leading officers to believe Myers might be headed for Baldwin.

"There was a conversation between the suspect and a Wagener officer sometime prior to this incident occurring -- it may have been weeks prior, but not hours or minutes," said Aiken County sheriff's Capt. Troy Elwell.

The officer said Myers had mentioned that he "would hurt certain people if he snapped." The four women had been listed, but the officer never saw it as more than venting at the time.

Baldwin's relatives said they called officers to check on Esther, but help didn't arrive for hours.

Elwell said records show deputies arrived exactly 10 minutes after they were dispatched.

"To the best of my knowledge, there was no extended delay between any phone call and us responding to the location," Elwell said Wednesday. "The delay they may have been talking about was when they made the call from the first incident location at 6 in the evening and the call at the second location ..."

ELWELL SAID INVESTIGATORS are still attempting to determine what led to Myers' snap that killed four women and himself.

"The (Baldwin) family says they have a suicide note," he said. "Law enforcement has asked the family to provide us with that. They have yet to do so."

The family reportedly discovered the note in Baldwin's vehicle, which Myers stole and was driving when police found him and chased him, and in which he eventually shot himself. The vehicle had been processed by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division when the suicide note was found.

SLED spokeswoman Kathryn Richardson said she is not at liberty to discuss any of the circumstances in the homicides because they are part of an ongoing investigation.

Elwell said Aiken County investigators are treating the case as if the suspect were still alive. The only difference is that the case won't be prepared for court.

"We try to do the exact same thing to bring the remaining family members what little bit of closure we can and let them know we've done everything possible to make sure justice has been served as much as we can do," he said. "It's just unfortunate that we can't bring them the closure of prosecuting the person responsible."

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