Two USC students were arrested overnight Thursday in Five Points on the heels of Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamins press conference promising to increase police presence in the entertainment district.
The arrests, one for unlawful carrying of a pistol and resisting arrest, the other for hit-and-run and drug possession, follow a particularly violent weekend in Five Points in which two men were injured in mob assaults and a womans car was damaged by gunfire after the Gamecocks victory over the Missouri Tigers Sept. 22 at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Last weekends violence put the popular nightclub and restaurant district under close scrutiny as community leaders and business owners grappled with how to keep the area safe. At news conferences this week, Benjamin and Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott both promised increased police presence in the coming weekends.
Thursdays arrests are the first results of increased patrols in the area, police department spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said Friday. While the department typically sends officers to Five Points on Thursday nights, there were a few extra officers there this week.
Weve already beefed up our patrols, she said. Youre going to see more of that this weekend, too.
In the first incident shortly before midnight Thursday, a member of the police departments drug officer team patrolling Five Points got a tip from that a suspicious person was in the area. Officers tracked down Joshua Isaiah Williams near the Walgreens Pharmacy at Santee Avenue and Blossom Street.
Williams, a 20-year-old listed in the universitys online directory as an experimental psychology student, denied having any weapons when asked, and permitted officers to give him a pat-down, police say. Officers found a loaded .25-caliber handgun in a pocket. Williams, who isnt old enough to carry a concealed weapon under state law, was charged with unlawful carrying of a weapon and resisting arrest.
Williams was booked at Richland Countys Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
About 1½ hours later, police arrested Bailey Reed Bowers, 19, and charged her with hit-and-run, possession of marijuana, possession of another controlled substance, possession of beer by a minor, driving with an open container of alcohol and failure to yield the right-of-way.
Shes accused of hitting an occupied car parked on the side of the street on Greene Street about a block from USCs campus.
No one was injured, but witnesses at the scene gave police a description of the suspect car and its direction of travel.
Police stopped Bowers, listed as a business major in the university directory, on Blossom Street near USCs Greek Village a few minutes later. They found marijuana, alcohol and psychedelic mushrooms in her car, but she showed no signs of being intoxicated, Timmons said. Bowers also was booked at the Richland County jail.
The department also made another arrest Friday in last weekends mob assault outside Pops N.Y. Pizza that was caught on video and led to much of the outcry about violence in Five Points.
Benedict College police arrested John Cornelius Sumner, 21, and charged him with second-degree assault and battery for his alleged role on the fight, in which several men punched and kicked another man outside the pizza parlor Sept. 21.
Sumners fellow Benedict College student, Stanley Jamar McBride, 21, also was charged in the incident, with second degree assault and battery. Michael Jermel Kendrix, also 21 and a Benedict student, is still wanted in the incident.
Timmons said increased patrols in Five Points can be expected tonight. USC plays the University of Kentucky in Kentucky at 7 p.m.
Reach Price at (803) 771-8376.