Nearly a dozen people, most of them teenagers, were injured in an early morning Saturday shooting when multiple after-prom parties converged on a Columbia park, officials said.
At about 1:20 a.m. Saturday, the sheriff’s department said deputies got a call about a “large gathering of juveniles” at Meadowlake Park, off of Wilson Boulevard. When deputies arrived, the department said they found most of the people had fled following gunfire.
But soon calls began coming in to dispatch reporting gun shot victims at local hospitals, deputies said.
Of the 11 people injured at the gathering, nine were shot, according to the sheriff’s department. One unidentified female at the scene suffered from lower body injuries after she was struck by a car and another victim suffered a hand injury, the sheriff’s department said in a statement. The gathering is believed to have involved students from various high schools throughout the area. The victims ranged in age from 16 to 20 years old.
“Our hearts go out to the families,” Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann said. “Prom season is supposed to the highlight of your high school years and an opportunity to create memories that you have for a lifetime. It’s just awful that we have folks who ruined this opportunity for memories for so many.”
Reached Saturday morning, the sheriff’s department said it was unable to provide additional information about the victims’ conditions.
More than 50 rounds are believed to have been fired at the park, said Rickenmann, who has been briefed on the situation.
The sheriff’s department said their investigators have already recovered dozens of scattered shell casings from multiple calibers of gun that littered the park.
Two people were arrested after the sheriff’s department said they fled a traffic stop while leaving the scene.
The department said Miquise Fulwiley allegedly fled after deputies attempted to stop him for driving without headlights. Fulwiley, 19, was apprehended after a pursuit, and a gun was recovered from the car.
The sheriff’s department said officers are working to determine whether the gun used in the shooting.
Fulwiley and his 18-year-old passenger, Ty’Quan Kelly, were arrested and charged with simple possession of marijuana and unlawful carrying of a pistol. Fulwiley also was charged with failure to stop for blue lights.
“This is an active and ongoing investigation with a very large crime scene,” the sheriff’s department said in a statement. “Investigators are still working to interview victims and others involved. Updates will be provided as they become available.”
Columbia Police Department spokeswoman, Jennifer Timmons said they have been asked to assist the sheriff’s department, which is leading the investigation.
The sheriff’s department said that the gathering was “not a park-sponsored event,” and the Richland County Recreation Commission is cooperating fully with the investigation. Meadowlake Park is currently closed, according to a representative from the Richland County Recreation Commission.
“I hope the folks who were there will help us to capture and detain those folks who committed this act,” Rickenmann said, emphasizing that the city was going to continue to work with communities to identify individuals and places that may be contributing to violence.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at crimesc.com, or use the P3 Tips app.
All information can be provided anonymously.
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