Sister of shooting victim wants answers

Tyesha Simmons wears a purple and black ribbon with a gold "T" on her shirt.

"He was a Lakers fan, so purple was his favorite color," Simmons said of her brother, Travis Smith. The black portion represents violence.

Smith, 28, was shot and killed on Sept. 29 in North Augusta.

Authorities have said he was standing outside an apartment at Ridgeview Manor on Bradleyville Road when he was shot around 2:45 a.m. Officers found Smith dead on a couch inside an apartment with a gunshot wound to his abdomen.

Police said Smith and a woman were approached by two men wearing hoodies, and that one of the hooded men fired a single shot in the direction of Smith and the woman as they ran inside the home.

"Nothing has materialized," said Lt. Tim Thornton of the North Augusta Department of Public Safety. "We don't have anything new at this point. We are continuing to run down leads."

Simmons wants to regenerate interest in the case in hopes that someone will come forward with something.

"I'm just trying to get the information out about the case, that it's still ongoing," she said. "They have no information, no leads, no motives and no suspects. We're trying to get it out there so if someone does know anything or they have any information, that they'll come forward."

To do that, Simmons is distributing flyers throughout Aiken, North Augusta and everywhere in between, and has made appearances with Aiken and Augusta area media outlets. She said friends, family members and church members have joined the initiative.

"This is a collective effort. We're not giving up until justice is served, until we have answers," Simmons said. "I know that somebody knows something. They're either scared to come forward or they just don't care."

Simmons said dealing with her brother's death has been difficult the past month, especially for their mother.

"She's had a tough time adjusting to the fact that he's not here anymore," Simmons said. "It's hard for her to look at his picture or talk about the situation. It's hard for everyone, especially not knowing, not having a clue why this happened."

Simmons said Smith's 9-year-old daughter asks questions about her father's death.

"It's real difficult when you can't explain why it happened," she said. "You just don't have any answers for her."

Simmons said her brother is remembered as being humble and quiet.

"He had few words, but when he did talk, he was always trying to make you laugh," she said. "He was never the type to bother anyone or look for trouble."

Thornton said he's heard of Simmons' efforts and applauded her.

"We appreciate her stepping forward and doing that," he said. "Sometimes, people are reluctant to talk to the police, but maybe they'll talk to a family member."

Simmons hopes to get more involved in homicide victims advocacy, and said she wants to start a foundation for homicide victims and their families.

"They no longer have a voice, and I want to be their voice," she said. "It needs to change, because we're losing a lot of young people to this foolishness and nonsense. It has to stop, and if nobody's held accountable for their actions, they're going to keep doing this."

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call North Augusta Public Safety at 279-2121. Individuals also should call CrimesStoppers of the Midlands at (888) CRIME-SC. Callers can remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward between $50 and $1,000.