ORIGINALLY PRINTED BY THE STATE June 14, 2007.
Police say shooting in parking lot was connected to domestic issue; suspect called armed, dangerous
Police are searching for a Columbia man they say shot and killed a father and wounded his daughter Wednesday in front of Columbiana Centre mall on HarbisonBoulevard.
Michael James Young Jr., 21, of Hill Pine Road, is suspected in the shooting, which stemmed from a domestic issue, said Columbia Police Chief Dean Crisp.
Robert Lynn Bell, 49, of Powder Horn Drive, Gaston, was shot multiple times, Lexington County Deputy Coroner Stephen Sightler said. Bell was dead at the scene.
Sgt. Florence Mc-Cants, Columbia Police spokeswoman, said there was some sort of conversation in the parking lot before the shooting at 6:38 p.m. Crisp said Youngleft in a green Honda Accord.
The female victim was inside a vehicle and the male victim and the shooter were outside the vehicle, she said.
Crisp said the woman, who was taken to an area hospital, was able to talk to police.McCants said she was undergoing surgery late Wednesday, but authorities did not release her condition or her name.
“In my history, this is the first time I’ve seen something Young was arrested June 5, accused of stalking, and was released on $75,000 bail. He also is wanted on a warrant charging him with harassment.
A mall security guard, who did not want to be named, said Young was sent a letter banning him from the mall. The guard said there was an incident there involving Young last week.
Outside the mall, yellow police tape roped off a large section of the Zone 1 parking lot, and blankets were draped over a Mustang and a red sedan with its front passenger side window broken out.
The red sedan later was towed.
Shoppers were stunned. Shon Johnson, 46, of Columbia, was inside the mall during the shooting.
He works at a nearby hotel. “It’s something you don’t see around here, that’s for sure,” he said. “I just came to do some shopping here, and I didn’t expect to run into this.”
Donald Jones, 50, lives near the mall and has shopped there for 17 years. He stopped by Wednesday night after hearing about the shooting.
“It’s a little scary. It’s a lot scary, actually, particularly knowing he was inside the mall, armed, and it could have happened inside the mall, as well as the parking lot,” Jones said.
Kevin McCaston, 20, of Gaston, was shopping at the mall’s Champs sporting goods store.
“They said something happened outside and we gotta close the store,” McCaston said.
“I was just wondering what was going on. Then I came out here, and I seeeverything out here.
“I don’t know what to think, really. I was surprised when they told me to getout of the store, something bad happened. It gets you worried, you know?”Tekiyah Smith, 27, of Columbia, works at Hair Cuttery salon at the mall.
“I’m shocked. I would have never thought anything like this would have happenedat this mall. I’m kind of a little scared now going out there at night and stuff.”
Smith said her mother used to tell her, “Be careful who you mess with because you never know. Just because somebody’s smiling at ya doesn’t mean they love ya or they like ya. “Pray. Just pray. Pray for that family.”
The mall, one of the area’s busiest with more than 100 stores, remained open after the shooting, though some stores closed.
The Associated Press contributed.