USC student critically wounded in Five Points shooting; suspect arrested
An 18-year-old woman is in critical condition after a shooting in Five Points early Sunday morning. Columbia Police officers said she was an innocent bystander and that the man accused of shooting her has been arrested.
The woman, a student at the University of South Carolina, was shot around 2:30 a.m. on the 700 block of Harden Street.
“This is a senseless crime,” Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago said. “Here is a young lady who was standing with a large group of people when she gets shot and then collapses in front of her friends. Now she is fighting for her life in the hospital. The shooter has no respect for human life and will face the consequences. Our prayers are with the victim and her family.”
Police arrested 20-year-old Michael Juan Smith and charged him with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a violent felony, unlawful carrying of a pistol and possession of a stolen pistol.
More than 10 police officers still on patrol in Five Points heard gunshots and investigated.
The suspect was found by police near Pops Pizza while he was allegedly running away from the scene. An officer found the gun thought to have been used in the shooting in Smith’s possession. The firearm had been reported stolen in Richland County.
Officers also reviewed surveillance video of the area.
Investigators think Smith was arguing with another man moments before the shooting. No one else was injured during the incident. Ryan Ellison, 17, also was arrested and charged with public disorderly conduct.
“If you decide to commit a crime in Five Points, you will be caught on surveillance camera and you will be captured by law enforcement and sent to jail,” Santiago said.
USC President Harris Pastides posted a statement on the university’s website. “I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn that a random act of gun violence has harmed one of our students in the Five Points area early this morning. The university is working closely with our student and her family to provide all available resources. On behalf of the entire Carolina family, Patricia and I offer our thoughts and prayers for healing and recovery and for the safety and well-being of all of our students.”