Motive for Columbiana Centre mall shooting may be gang retaliation, source says

Tracy Glantz/tglantz@thestate.com
·2 min read

The motive in Saturday’s shooting at Columbiana Centre mall that injured 14, including nine who were shot, may be gang retaliation, a law enforcement source said.

In a news conference late Saturday afternoon, Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said it was too early in the investigation to know if the shooting was gang related. But he said authorities do not believe that the shooting was random and that those involved knew each other.

The shooting was “not a situation of a random person that showed up the mall” to shoot people, Holbrook said. The shooting likely stemmed from an on-going conflict, police said.

As of Sunday morning, one arrest had been made.

Jewayne M. Price, 22, was charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol, police said.

The man who was originally detained as a person of interest is being held at the Lexington County Detention Center and could face more charges as police said they are consulting the 11th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

Police said they are trying to identify at least two additional suspects who were seen with guns in the shopping mall.

State Sen. Dick Harpootlian, a Columbia Democrat and former prosecutor, said the state has a “problem with young people with guns who are not deterred by our current legal framework.”

“We need to make it tougher on gang members, we need to make it tougher on young people who are illegally possessing and carrying guns,’‘ Harpootlian said.

The first 911 call about the shooting came in at 2:03 p.m., Holbrook said, and the mall was quickly swarmed by hundreds of law enforcement officers.

Columbiana Centre is located in the popular Harbison shopping and entertainment district. Highway exits leading to the mall were blocked Saturday afternoon.

The mall was going to be closed Sunday for the Easter holiday, and is expected to reopen for business on Monday, according to said Lindsey Kahn, a spokeswoman for the mall.