A 14-year-old girl may be paralyzed after she was shot in the chest Sunday night by a 16-year-old gang member.
The 16-year-old has been charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol and unlawful carrying of a pistol by a person under the age of 18, after Columbia Police Department investigators determined the shooting was not intentional, said Columbia police Sgt. William Pegram.
“We’ve got a known gang member,” Pegram said. “He was brandishing it and flashing it around.”
The boy was standing around a group of people when he fired the gun. The bullet struck the 14-year-old in the chest, said Columbia police spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons.
The police department did not release names of the suspect or victim.
The girl was listed Monday in critical but stable condition at Palmetto Health Richland. Doctors have told police she may be paralyzed, according to a Columbia police news release.
Pegram declined to release the type of gun the suspect had, adding police have not determined whether it was stolen.
The 16-year-old has a criminal record, including a prior gun charge, a second-degree burglary charge and a drug charge, sources close to the investigation said.
The shooting happened at 9:15 p.m. Sunday at Latimer Manor, a housing project on Lorick Avenue in north Columbia. Neither the victim nor the suspect lives at the complex, Timmons said.
The girl lives at Hammond Village, another public housing complex off River Drive. The 16-year-old boy lives in Northeast Richland, Timmons said.
Police did not know what the two teens were doing at Latimer Manor, but Pegram said it is common for groups of young people to hang out there at night.
The teen frequents Latimer Manor, a known gang hot spot, Pegram said. Juvenile suspects’ names are not released to the public.
“He intimidates people out there,” Pegram said.
Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.