Two 17-year-old Columbia, South Carolina teens were charged as adults in the shocking murder of an A.C. Flora High School senior who was shot to death on Thursday, according to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.
Lott said that all three of the teens were “involved in something illegal” when they met up Thursday afternoon. Flannigan and Coates both shot Kelly, according to the sheriff.
“Then they got into the car, sat on top of him, and drove him somewhere else,” Lott said. “That’s cold… They just left him there. No remorse whatsoever…. just total disregard for human life.”
Kelly was found dead in a vehicle parked on Frasier Street, which is off Bluff Road in Columbia, South Carolina, around 6 p.m. Thursday after police were called in reference to a suspicious vehicle.
The vehicle had several bullet holes in the driver’s side, according to police.
According to police, one of the suspects left behind a major clue — his cell phone — inside the car where Kelly’s body was.
The Columbia area has seen a disturbing uptick in gun violence recently, according to law enforcement leaders.
More people have been murdered (14) so far this year in Richland County than all of 2020 — when 12 people were murdered.
In the first six months of 2021, 54 people have been shot in Richland County— which is more than all of 2020 when 30 were shot, Lott said.
Lott begged the community to work together to end gun violence.
“Guns aren’t the problem… the people holding the guns are the problem,” Lott said. “It’s the people that are holding these guns that just don’t care about people’s lives who they’re shooting.”
He said Kelly’s homicide is a tragedy as three young lives have been destroyed.
“That’s three young people who have lost their lives,” Lott said. “One in the cemetery and two are probably going to prison for a long time.”
Kelly was an IB student who played soccer, ultimate frisbee and ran cross country at A.C. Flora. He was set to graduate June 14.
“This tragic news is impacting his very large circle of Flora friends and the Flora community as a whole,” A.C. Flora Principal Susan Childs said.
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