A 22-year-old Columbia man has been arrested in connection with the early Friday morning shooting death of Papa Johns manager Steven A. Fowler outside the pizza restaurant at 10008 Two Notch Road.
David Welsey Watson Sr., who is also being held in connection with a series of armed robberies at local motels, was taken into custody at a relative’s house on Carver Street Wednesday afternoon, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said.
Sheriff Leon Lott said Wednesday that information from the community and ballistics work by the Sheriff’s Department helped authorities track down Watson.
Lott described Watson as a “cold-blooded killer. He is the type of individual who would not stop until he was caught,”
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Watson has been charged with “murder, attempted robbery and four counts of armed robbery.”
He has been connected to the early afternoon armed robbery May 30th at the Days Inn on Plumbers Road where money and a cell phone were stolen from an unnamed victim. And Watson is believed to have been responsible for the 4:30 a.m. stickup of a clerk at the Comfort Inn and Suites at 1540 Daulton Road, according to the Sheriff’s Department. The victim told authorities that the robber pulled a black revolver and demanded money after first pretending to want a room.
A week later, Watson is accused of returning to the Plumbers Road Days Inn just before 7 a.m. and demanding money from the clerk while brandishing a pistol. He is accused of kicking in the door to a utility room and stealing money from inside that room as well.
“The revolver was the common denominator” in the crimes, Lott said.
Watson will be examined as a potential suspect in other unsolved crimes in the area, he said.
“These crimes were random and that’s what makes them so awful,” Lott said. “He was looking for easy money, and now many lives are destroyed, not only the family of the slain Papa Johns manager, but also this young person who has thrown his life away,” the sheriff said.
Wednesday night Watson was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
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