One arrested in Five Points stabbing

nophillips@thestate.comJuly 28, 2013 

— Columbia police have arrested one suspect in connection with a weekend stabbing at a Five Points bar, and they are searching for three more.

Stewart Randall Ard, 38, of Batesburg-Leesville has been charged with two counts of second-degree assault and battery by mob and two counts of first-degree assault, according to a Columbia Police Department news release. He turned himself in to police Monday.

Ard has a criminal record dating to 1993. His most recent convictions were in 2005 for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and armed robbery, according to a SLED rap sheet.

Ard is accused of stabbing the owner of Group Therapy, a Greene Street bar, and a bouncer early Sunday morning after he and three other men had been kicked out earlier in the night, said interim police chief Ruben Santiago.

Police did not report what happened inside the bar to trigger the four men’s ejection. But Santiago said security video from outside the bar captured the four as they hurried away.

“They came back and retaliated,” Santiago said.

One man in the group punched the victims before they were stabbed, police said. The other two suspects were in the getaway car, which was a red or burgundy Mazda. Police said the victims’ wounds were not life threatening.

Ard allegedly tried to stab two more men as they ran after him moments after the stabbing, police said.

Monday, Santiago tried to reassure the public that the stabbing was an isolated incident and should not cause the public to fear Five Points.

“It’s not going to affect everyone who goes to Five Points,” he said.

Five Points has been quiet for most of the summer. The last violent episode to make headlines was in February when an 18-year-old fired six shots into a crowded street corner as he aimed at a police officer who was arresting one of his friends. No one was injured.

University of South Carolina students return in about three weeks, and police are working on a plan for Five Points security, said Jennifer Timmons, a department spokeswoman.

Police are asking for help in locating the remaining three suspects in the Sunday stabbing. Anyone with information about the stabbing should call S.C. CrimeStoppers at (888) 274-6373.

Reach Monk at (803) 771-8344

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