Update, September 27, 2023 – Sheriff Leon Lott announces the arrest of a third suspect in connection to a weekend shooting that killed three teens.
A 14-year-old boy, whose name is not being released due to his age, was taken into custody this morning. He is the third suspect arrest after Jahkeem Griffin and Karlos Gibson, both 17-years-old, were arrested yesterday. All three face the same charges of three counts of murder, attempted murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and possession of handgun under the age of 18.
Two suspects, Griffin and Gibson, will be tried as adults due to their age. The 14-year-old will go to Family Court where a judge will decide if he will be tried as an adult.
Update, September 26, 2023 – Sheriff Lott announces the arrest of Karlos Damon Gibson, 17, in connection with the shooting that killed 3 teens over the weekend and injured a fourth.
Gibson is charged with three counts of murder, attempted murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and possession of handgun under the age of 18. He was taken into custody without incident and will be transported to the Alvin S. Glen Detention Center.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Two people showed up at an abandoned house where four teenagers were hanging out and opened fire, killing three of them and wounding the fourth in an escalation of an old quibble over a burglary, authorities said Monday in Columbia, South Carolina.
17-year-old Jahkeem Griffin, a Eau Claire High School student was arrested on three counts of murder, one of attempted murder and possessing a weapon during a violent crime, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Monday at a news conference. Officials are still looking for “some other people,” he said.
The teenagers who were killed also attended Eau Claire High School, according to a statement from Craig Witherspoon, the district superintendent. The lone survivor went to a nearby middle school.
The district provided additional counseling and security at the high school Monday in response to the “unimaginable tragedy,” which Witherspoon decried as “senseless gun violence.”
Sheriff’s deputies responded to the shooting in Columbia, the state capital, just after 2 p.m. Sunday, the sheriff’s department said.
After the two shooters opened fire at the house, they followed the victims as they fled to the backyard and continued firing, according to a redacted incident report. It was part of a “beef” that Lott said began two years ago with a burglary.
Three victims were 16 and 17 years old and died at the hospital, and the fourth victim, who is 14, was released, the sheriff’s department said.
The sheriff would not say how the weapons were obtained. But, he said, too many Columbia gunowners leave their firearms in cars, where they are easily stolen. The city experienced 100 vehicle break-ins this past weekend, Lott said.
Lott said he held the news conference to address “something that seems to be recurring” in Columbia and nationwide.
Nine people ages 16 to 20 were injured in a park shooting this spring at an event involving students from Columbia-area high schools, officials noted.
Witherspoon and other elected officials called for more out-of-school programming by churches, schools and governments. Richland County Councilmember Gretchen Barron said lawmakers cannot legislate “good behavior” and “healthy choices.”
“We need everybody in the village that’s standing behind me and the village that’s out there listening to this,” Lott said. “We need to do more. This proves that we haven’t done enough.”