Aiken Family Mourns Death of Veteran Who was Shot by ‘Heartless Coward’

The family of an Aiken veteran who was shot last week while walking with his wife and daughter are mourning his death after he succumbed to his injuries at an Augusta hospital.

Larry Swearingen III, 42, was pronounced dead at 7:24 p.m. Saturday at Augusta University Medical Center, four days after he was shot on Laurens Street while walking home in the afternoon with wife Jess and their daughter.

Aiken police immediately identified the shooter as 17-year-old Dae ‘Kwon Simmons, who relatives of the victim are calling a “heartless coward.” Simmons remains on the loose despite his face being publicized for days. Also, a 14-year-old has been charged with accessory after the fact of a felony. The younger teen was taken to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia, according to reports.

A GoFundMe page (link) describes the victim as a US Army veteran and a former dog rescuer. Swearingen’s wife detailed his decade-long struggle, saying he had been in constant excruciating pain and had his case mishandled by the VA Hospital for years.

Earlier Sunday, Jess Swearingen posted this message on her Facebook page: “Larry Swearingen III, I haven’t the slightest clue how I will continue to function without you. I never imagined I would have to leave this hospital without you in the end. I am so sorry. I love you so much. I will miss you every millisecond of everyday. … I love you, my Phoenix. … August 10, 2019 at 7:24 p.m. your body’s pain finally ended.”

Anyone with information on the murder suspect’s whereabouts, please contact ADPS through the following methods below. A tip could earn a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for this crime.

Phone Tip — Call toll free number at 1-888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372).

Anonymous web tip — Go to the Midlands CrimeStoppers website at www.midlandscrimestoppers.com and click Submit a Tip.