Sumter coroner confirms identity of innocent driver shot on North Purdy Street; officers ask for public's help to ID shooters


Sumter County Coroner Robbie Baker released the name of the individual who died after a shooting on North Purdy Street.

Blaine Varner, 59, of Sumter, died from injuries sustained in an exchange of gunfire between people in two other vehicles on the afternoon of Monday, May 20, Baker said. Varner was not involved in the shooting, according to Tonyia McGirt, public information officer with Sumter Police Department.

Next of kin has been notified, and an autopsy has been scheduled for Friday morning at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

Varner was a physician assistant for Tandem Health with more than 20 years of experience, according to the Tandem Health website.

Officers are still searching for the people responsible and are seeking the public’s help.

Anyone with information on the vehicle description, persons involved or other knowledge they may have about the shooting is asked to contact the police department immediately at (803) 436-2700. Tips can also be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC, online at or by using the P3 Tips app for mobile devices.