Neighbors who live in a Hopkins subdivision where five people were shot Wednesday afternoon said the growing problem of roaming teenagers has got to be stopped.
Residents along Gusty Lane in the Quail Hills subdivision were reluctant to call the groups gangs. Instead, they referred to them as “territorial” and “affiliations.”
“They need more neighborhood intervention type of things,” said J. Lynn Smith, who lives on Gusty Lane with her daughter and two teen-age granddaughters. “It’s about being concerned when you have a lot of kids together.”
Five people were shot in a drive-by shooting on Gusty Lane, but none received life-threatening injuries, said Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy Curtis Wilson, a department spokesman.
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Lurenza Denzel Jones, 18, was arrested Wednesday night and charged with five counts of attempted murder, the sheriff’s department reported. He remained in jail Thursday at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.Jones was not alone when he fired shots at the group, but he was the only shooter, Wilson said. Jones was riding in a car, and at least some of his other victims were inside a car.
The shooting was the result of a fight that happened earlier in the day, but Wilson did not know what started the fight. It’s possible the fight was between rival gang members, he said.
The shooting happened at 4 p.m. as children were coming home from school and adults were getting off work. Many neighbors said they didn’t hear the commotion, but Smith’s granddaughters, who heard the gunshots, thought they were part of a training exercise at
The sheriff’s department issued a press release with a specific address where the incident happened, but a man who answered the door said it did not happen at his house. He declined to give his name.
No one who would talk with reporters said they were sure which house on the street was the site of the shooting. But they suspected one where teenagers are known to hang out.
Smith said one of her granddaughters was afraid to wait for the school bus Thursday morning because she was worried about repercussions from the shooting.
Vertina Lee, another Gusty Lane resident, said the Lower Richland County neighborhood is typically quiet. The street is lined with one-and two-story homes and tall hardwood trees.
Lee said the teens involved in the shooting need to realize that they had jeopardized other people’s safety.“It’s dangerous,” she said.
Groups of teenagers in Lower Richland affiliate themselves with neighborhood groups, Smith said, as she described rivalries over geography. She would not call them gangs, though.
“It’s territorial and neighborhood oriented,” she said.
One group in Hopkins calls itself “Kountry Boys,” several people said. Another group is affiliated with the
Leesburg Road area, which is closer to Columbia.
Law enforcement and neighborhood leaders need to intervene, Smith said.
“Are there going to be repercussions?” she said. “What’s going to happen next if it’s not defused ? It has to be addressed.”
Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.