On Friday, May 19, 2023, Richland County sheriff Leon Lott announced a third arrest in connection with a mass shooting that took place last month at Meadowlake Park in northeast Columbia, South Carolina. Eighteen-year-old Christopher Pearson has been charged with eleven counts of attempted murder and one count of possession of a weapon during a violent crime. Lott stated Pearson had no known criminal history.
Pearson was arrested Friday morning at his home – where eight guns were also recovered. Lott made clear authorities were not implying all eight guns were used in the shooting, but that investigators could “place him at the scene” and could “place him shooting a gun.”
Pearson appeared in bond court on Saturday. Several of the victims’ parents were in attendance at the hearing, which ended in his bond being denied.
During his press conference last week, Lott played a video said to have been obtained from Pearson’s social media. In the clip, Pearson instructed viewers to come to Meadowlake Park while brandishing a firearm featuring a magazine capable of shooting multiple rounds. Lott stated the video was made in Pearson’s home on the day of the shooting at around 11:00 p.m. EST.
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(Via: Richland County Sheriff’s Department)
The shooting took place in the early morning hours of April 29, 2023 as teenagers and young adults were enjoying a post-prom party. As bullets began flying, a stampede ensued. A total of eleven people were injured – nine of whom sustained gunshot wounds.
Pearson’s arrest came on the heels of the arrests of two brothers in connection with the shooting. At the time of their arrests, the brothers were just days away from turning seventeen years old. Both brothers are being held at the Alvin S. Glenn detention center in southeast Columbia, S.C. – each facing eleven attempted murder charges and related weapons offenses.
“We are making progress,” Lott said. “We are not going to stop or slow down. We will continue to investigate. We will hold everybody accountable that was out there and was shooting into this crowd.”
Lott indicated he would ensure both juveniles would be charged as adults, however that decision will ultimately be made by S.C. fifth circuit solicitor Byron Gipson.
The two unnamed juveniles were initially arrested because of their connection to an unrelated shooting at a Midlands-area Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. Their connection to the Meadowlake Park shooting was not known to law enforcement at the time of their arrest, but ballistics investigators matched shell casings from the KFC shooting with those found on the scene at the Meadowlake shooting.
In a previous news conference on this mass shooting, Lott expressed frustration with Richland County bond court judges – specifically citing two young adults who were arrested while exiting the Meadowlake Park area in a vehicle with no headlights on after the shooting.
Police say they arrested the teens after a vehicular pursuit.
Miquise Fulwiley, 19, was charged with simple possession of marijuana, failure to stop for a blue light (first offense), and unlawfully carrying a pistol. Fulwiley was given a personal recognizance bond by magistrate LaTonya Derrick.
Ty’quan Kelly, 18, was charged with unlawfully carrying a pistol – for which he now received a $10,000 surety bond. Lott stated Kelly’s bond was set at its current amount after the emergency revocation of a previous bond.
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Kelly was previously charged with unlawfully carrying a pistol in March of this year and possessing a controlled substance for which he was given a $2,500 bond by magistrate judge Patience Van Ellis. Lott stated it took a circuit court judge to change Kelly’s bond.
As of this writing, Kelly remains behind bars. Derrick – who set Kelly’s first bond at $2,500 and his bond for the Meadowlake arrest at $10,000 – has since been removed from her magistrate court position.
Lott thanked the community for the many leads have come in on the case and stated that many youth at the post-prom party at Meadowlake Park were “not bad kids.”
As with anyone accused of committing any crime, all of the defendants referenced in this article are considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as they may wish to enter some form of allocution in connection with a plea agreement with prosecutors related to any of the charges filed against them.
Stay tuned to this news outlet for updates on this case …
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