COLUMBIA, SC — A man accused of shooting a USC freshman has been indicted on a federal weapons charge.
Michael Juan Smith, 20, will be arraigned Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Columbia after a grand jury indicted him Nov. 5 on a charge of being a violent felon in possession of a firearm. He will be represented by a federal public defender.
Smith, who goes by the nicknames “Flame” and “Junior,” had a .40-caliber Glock pistol and .40-caliber ammunition, according to the indictment.
Smith has prior convictions for second-degree burglary and grand larceny. One of those burglary convictions was classified as a violent crime.
Smith is being held without bond in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime, being a violent felon in possession of a weapon and possessing a stolen gun.
He was on probation at the time of the shooting.
Smith is accused of firing his gun in the early morning hours of Oct. 13 while arguing with another man in Five Points. A stray bullet struck Childress, who was standing in a taxi line near the Five Points fountain at the intersection of Harden and Greene streets.
The bullet damaged several internal organs and paralyzed Childress from the waist down.
Childress, 18, has been undergoing intensive therapy at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta where she is learning to live in a wheelchair. The center specializes in treating people with brain and spinal cord injuries.
An update on Childress was sent Friday via email by her uncle, Jim Carpenter, a Greenville attorney.
Part of Childress’ rehabilitation includes weightlifting and exercises designed to strengthen her arms and shoulders, Carpenter wrote.
“These include curls with weights, dips on an exercise machine and some dips using her body weight as resistance,” he wrote. “She also has been working on her balance.”
During a Nov. 10 visit, Carpenter said he watched as his niece moved herself from the edge of her bed to her wheelchair without significant assistance from others.
She also made her first trip outside the rehab center when she went on an outing to Atlanta’s Lenox Square Mall, Carpenter said.
This week, Childress is designing and ordering a wheelchair made to fit her. She will be able to customize it, he said.
“She values and appreciates the support of her friends and family, and enjoys their correspondence through social media, email and the good, old-fashioned US postal system,” Carpenter wrote. “Please keep her in your prayers.”
Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.