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Crime Watch: Shooting In Fountain Inn (Updates)




Authorities in Upstate South Carolina remain on the hunt for an individual who opened fire at an automotive manufacturing facility in Laurens County, S.C. early Friday.  The manhunt has forced schools and business to go on lockdown, while sparking panic in and around this peaceful Piedmont community.

David Jerome Butler has been named as a “person of interest” in the shooting, which left one person wounded.  Authorities say Butler could be driving a greenish-blue newer model Ford Fusion with a South Carolina license plate “NKQ-993.”

He should be considered armed and dangerous.

According to Laurens County sheriff Don Reynolds, who is leading the investigation into the shooting, Butler is “a criminal.”

“He’s a thug,” Reynolds told reporters, adding that Butler had a lengthy “criminal record.”

Here is a Laurens County “Wanted” flyer issued on Friday for Butler …

(Click to view)

(Banner via Laurens County Sheriff’s Office)

The shooting took place at the Yanfeng Automotive Interiors plant near Fountain Inn shortly before 5:45 a.m. EDT, law enforcement officials said.  A Shanghai-based corporation, Yanfeng provides German automotive behemoth BMW with door panels, instrument panels and floor consoles for multiple vehicle models.  The company announced a major expansion last June that added thirty-five new jobs and an estimated $70 million in new capital investment.

Roughly 100 people were working at the facility at the time of the incident, police said.  Employees were safely evacuated and the individual who was wounded in the shooting is said to have sustained “non-life threatening injuries.”

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Initial witness reports indicate Butler – a contract worker at Yanfeng – was engaged in a dispute with another employee at the facility.  One witness told reporters Butler missed the person he was trying to shoot and that the bullet’s ricochet wounded another employee.

At that point Butler fled the scene.

Reynolds’ agency is receiving assistance in its investigation from the Greenville County sheriff’s office, the Clinton, S.C. police department and the Fountain Inn, S.C. police department.

Developing …

Banner via iStock