Sumter taking extra steps after '08 Halloween tragedy

A parent’s worst nightmare occurred last Halloween in Sumter when a child was shot to death while trick or treating.  A convicted drug dealer answered the knock at his door by spraying the front of his house with bullets that killed 12-year-old T.J. Darrisaw and injuring the boy’s father and siblings.
Sumter Police Chief Patty Patterson says every effort is being made by the Sumter community and law enforcement to make this Halloween a safe one.  “We will be very, very visible.  We’ll be vigilant in our task and in our duty in being out there. We’ll be downtown on Main Street, but we will also have extra patrols that will be out in the community, circulating neighborhoods, watching out for the young people and patrolling the city as a whole.”

The majority of the signs were assembled by Central Carolina Technical College student Criminal Justice club

Following last year’s tragedy, a group of concerned parents gathered up the leftover political yard signs and recycled them creating signs that say “trick or treaters welcomed here.”  The signs are available at the police station and several businesses throughout the community for those who wish to post them in their yards. Patterson said safety information is being handed out by law enforcement.  “We have also distributed, probably three or four-thousand flyers throughout the community.  The officers are going to various schools, businesses, day cares, churches, and various other places, passing those out and giving some safety tips to parents as well as their children.”

Signs let parents, children know it's safe to trick or treat at certain homes

As an alternative to neighborhood trick or treating, festivals and activities at churches and schools have been planned throughout the area,iincluding “Halloween on Main Street” and trick or treating at the Sumter Mall.