COLUMBIA, SC – A South Carolina community is grappling with the aftermath of a violent incident that claimed the lives of three teenagers and left another injured. A 17-year-old is accused of opening fire on four peers, aged between 14 and 17, resulting in the tragic death of three, according to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. The shooting, which occurred on a Sunday afternoon, is believed to have originated from a petty disagreement from years past.
The teenage suspect is now in custody, facing charges that include three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. The survivor of the shooting has been discharged from the hospital, as confirmed by Sheriff Lott. The incident has sparked outrage among local officials, who are increasingly concerned about the level of violence in their community.
During a press conference on September 25, 2023, Sheriff Lott addressed the community about the heartbreaking incident. He expressed his shock and disappointment, saying, “Three kids are dead. If that doesn’t shock you, then something’s wrong. So we gotta do something. … Now is time for action.”
Richland County Councilwoman Gretchen Barron echoed these sentiments, lamenting the fact that young people have access to firearms and are making devastating decisions. She emphasized the community’s responsibility to address the issue. Sheriff Lott did not disclose where the firearm used in the shooting was sourced, but he did mention a local trend of teenagers stealing guns from vehicles, with 100 cars reportedly broken into over the weekend.
In the aftermath of the shooting, additional security measures have been implemented at Columbia’s Eau Claire High School, where the victims and the suspect were students. Richland One Superintendent Craig Witherspoon expressed his sorrow over the loss, describing it as an “unimaginable tragedy” and requesting thoughts and prayers for the affected families and the school community.