Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Columbia Police work to reduce gun violence

Photos by Karamie Sullivan.

The number of illegal guns on the streets of Richland County is decreasing.  

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott along with Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook have implemented a 60-day plan to work on reducing gun violence in the county.  

Wednesday afternoon, the two officers held a press conference providing an update on how the plan has been going, now that they are 30 days in.  

Lott discussed the number of gun seizures the task force has completed since the beginning of the plan.  

“Just in Richland County, in less than 30 days, we’ve seized 80 guns,” he said.  “Twenty-two of the guns that have been recovered, were stolen.”  Lott said one of the most frequent examples of gun theft is from car break-ins.  He urged civilians to not leave their firearms in their cars.  “Just in the Broad River Road area this past Sunday night, we had 40 vehicles broken into,” said Lott.  

There was a display poster at the press conference with pictures of arrested men who deputies have been looking for, according to Lott.  “When we just made this the other day, there were 13 that had been arrested, but now there’s been three more arrested since then,” Lott said.  “Out of the initial list we’ve created, we’ve arrested 16 of those that we consider some of the worst of the worst.”

Holbrook acknowledged the work done by the investigators, who he said have collaborated with each other through every day conversation to complete their tasks.  Probation and Parole agents, and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm (ATF) agents have partnered with the Richland County task force to help reduce gun violence, according to Lott.

At the end of the press conference Lott referenced the poster of arrested men, and acknowledged that there are still more on the streets that have yet to be arrested.  “We know who they are, and they know who they are,” said Lott.