RICHLAND COUNTY — Three males who had been arguing with Five Points shooting suspect Michael Juan Smith are being sought by the Columbia Police Department.
Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago encouraged citizens to call CrimeStoppers if they can help identify the three males who allegedly were involved in an altercation that led to the shooting of Martha Childress, an 18-year-old University of South Carolina freshman. Childress, who was shot by a stray bullet and is now paralyzed from the waist down, was not the intended target.
Santiago called the three persons of interest.
The men may have witnessed the crime and have information about the shooting, which occurred shortly before 2:30 a.m. Sunday inthe 700 block of Harden Street.
Smith was stopped by officers on Harden Street as he was running from the scene. He is charged 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. Police say surveillance footage shows Smith committing the crime.
Ryan Ellison, 17, is charged with public disorderly conduct.
Santiago asked anyone with information to contact CrimeStoppers by calling (888) CRIME-SC, texting to CRIMES (274637) and marking the beginning of the message with "TIPSC,” or logging onto www.midlandscrimestoppers.com and clicking on the red "Submit a tip” tab.