Columbia police: Five Points calm over weekend

jmonk@thestate.comOctober 20, 2013 

The Five Points fountain

C MICHAEL BERGEN — mbergen@thestate.com Buy Photo

— The Five Points nightspot district, shaken a week ago by a random shooting that left a college student paralyzed, was quiet this weekend.

“We had no major incidents,” Columbia police department spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said Sunday.

“We had arrests, but they were typical,” she said.

Typical arrests in Five Points, which draws thousands of young people on weekend nights include drinking-related arrests, disorderly conduct and public urination.

Last week, after the shooting that left University of South Carolina freshman Martha Childress paralyzed from the waist down, USC president Harris Pastides announced he no longer considers Five Points safe after midnight. Meanwhile, police, business leaders, citizens, university students and government officials are debating ways to make Five Points safer.

Childress, an innocent bystander, was waiting with a friend for a taxi cab at Five Points’ signature Harden Street fountain to take them back to campus. The shooter, whom police say used a stolen Glock, was out of prison on probation.

Over the last three years, Five Points has been the scene of a string of violent crimes, incudling shootings, stabbings, arson and the random but severe beating of an 18-year-old, Carter Strange, by a group of young men.

The area is a prosperous boom district. Because of the large regular influx of students with money to spend, Five Points has its share of national and regional stories, including Starbucks, Walgreens, Copper Penny, Waffle House and Cookout. A number of local stores, several dozen bars, restaurants and night clubs round out the business profile.

Reach Monk at (803) 771-8344.

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