Vista Shooting

Columbia police believe suspects in Vista shooting may have known victims

Wounded man in stable conditionWounded man in stable condition

mlucas@thestate.comDecember 27, 2012 

While the victim of an early Saturday morning shooting in the Vista remains in stable condition, police believe something about the incident suggests the suspects may have known the victim, Columbia police say.

“There are a few things investigators are looking at that just don’t fit,” Deputy Police Chief Ruben Santiago said.

While Santiago did not want to go into detail as the investigation continues, he did say there were some things relating to a surveillance video that have caused investigators to think the suspects’ targeting of the two victims may not have been completely random.

The video captured the suspects in the area prior to the incident.

The victim, described by police as a 25-year-old man, was shot in the chest after what is believed to be an attempted armed robbery. The man and a 21-year-old woman he was with had just gotten inside their parked car when two men approached.

The incident occurred close to 1 a.m. Saturday in the parking area near the Blue Marlin restaurant, close to the intersection of Gervais and Lincoln streets, police spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons confirmed again Wednesday.

“I can’t say exactly which space, but it appears to be those spaces beneath the awning and closer to the Gervais Street side,” Timmons said.

One suspect opened the driver’s side door and demanded the couple’s belongings at gunpoint. It is believed that the male victim got out of the car and fought with that suspect, police said.

The victim was punched in the face and shot in the chest by the second suspect, police said.

While the two assailants have not been apprehended, Santiago said he feels positive about “some good leads” the department has received from CrimeStoppers and other law enforcement agencies.

The suspects have been described as black males wearing dark clothing. One was wearing a black pull-down cap with ear covers while the other wore a red and black plaid-pull-down cap with ear covers.

Those with information about the incident can call, text or submit an online anonymous tip to Crimestoppers by calling, toll-free, 888-CRIME-SC; texting to CRIMES (274637) or logging on to www.midlandscrime stoppers.com.

Police are also continuing to look for a late model Dodge Avenger, believed to have been driven by the suspects.

Police have not been able to communicate fully with the man who was shot. The victim, initially admitted in critical condition, has been hospitalized since Saturday.

Reach Lucas at (803) 771-8657.

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