School Principal Shot, Killed Inside Vehicle: Deputies

An elementary school in South Carolina is mourning the death of its principal after she was fatally shot in her vehicle, according to law enforcement officials.

In a Facebook post on Monday, the Dillon County School District Four posted a photo of the principal, Dr. Wendy Cook. According to the post, she was the principal at Stewart Heights Elementary School.

According to WMBF-TV in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Dillon County Sheriff Douglas Pernell said that the shooting occurred on Saturday evening, when police were called to the 1800 block of Southwind Road. When deputies arrived at the scene, they found a woman who was dead from a gunshot wound inside a vehicle.

The victim of the shooting was later identified by the local coroner as 54-year-old Wendy Cook, WMBF reported.

Shortly after the shooting, deputies with the Dillion County Sheriff’s Office arrested a suspect identified as 31-year-old Kyle Church, WPDE-TV reported. According to the local news outlet, Church was arrested on murder charges as well as on charges of possessing a weapon during a violent crime.

According to WPDE, Church appeared before Dillon County Magistrate Andrew Bethea on Monday afternoon, when the suspect learned that a bond will be set later by a different judge in the state’s Circuit Court. WPDE also reported that Sheriff Pernell said that Church and Cook knew each other, but a motive for the alleged crime has not been released to the public.

In a statement posted to Facebook, South Carolina State Superintendent Molly Spearman said, “I am saddened by the passing of Dr. Wendy Cook, principal of Stewart Heights Elementary School.”

Spearman continued, “Her colleagues and friends in Dillon County School District 4 talk about the great work she did leading her school and the many impacts she had on her students and staff. My deepest condolences are with the entire Dillon school community as they grieve this loss.”

Newsweek reached out to Dillon County School District Four for further comment.

While speaking with WPDE, Dillon County School District Four Superintendent Ray Rogers said that Cook worked within the school district for almost 25 years.

“Walking in the school today. You know, you just feel her presence. And this is a building. The kids came in just as quiet as they could be. And not knowing all of what was going on,” Rogers told the local news station.

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