A Columbia cab driver was shot to death Friday afternoon in a Waffle House parking lot, and the suspected shooter later killed himself after leading police on a 30-minute, high-speed chase through three counties in the stolen cab.
Authorities Saturday morning identified the gunman as 20-year-old Nicholas Kyle Rivers of Camden. The cab driver's name was not released. However, Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews said the man killed at the Waffle House on Two Notch Road near I-20 was a driver for Checker Yellow Cab company in Columbia.
The violent events began earlier Friday in Camden when the shooter called a local cab company for a ride. After a female driver picked the shooter up, he pulled a gun and ordered her to drive him to Columbia. The female driver’s 7-year-old son was in the cab with her, Matthews said.
The woman dropped the shooter off on Two Notch Road, Matthews said, but investigators had not determined if she left him at the Waffle House.
Richland County deputies were called to the Waffle House shortly after 4 p.m. after someone called to report gunshots, said Richland County Deputy Arielle Reposta, a department spokeswoman.
The Checker Yellow Cab driver was found in the parking lot with multiple gunshot wounds and taken to Palmetto Health Richland, where he later died from his injuries.
Richland County sheriff’s deputies responding to the shooting saw the stolen Checker Yellow cab and followed it onto I-20, Reposta said.
Once the shooter crossed into Kershaw County, Matthews said, his deputies took over the chase. The shooter left I-20 at Exit 108 onto S.C. 34 and then drove into Lee County, where that county’s sheriff’s deputies joined the chase.
“The guy was flying,” Matthews said.
The shooter eventually drove back into Kershaw County and headed toward Camden, Matthews said.
“My deputy called me and said, ‘He’s going to kill somebody,’” Matthews said.
As the chase neared the Camden city limits, the Kershaw County deputy requested permission to perform a driving maneuver where he would bump the cab driven by the shooter and force it to spin out, Matthews said.
As the deputy approached the stolen cab the two cars hit a patch of road where Camden Police Department officers had laid out spikes to stop the shooter’s vehicle . The cab tires blew out, and the car spun into a guardrail. It hit a second guardrail before coming to rest in the middle of the road, Matthews said. The spikes also punctured the tires of the deputy’s patrol car.
“My deputy and the Lee County deputy came up to the cab and the guy had shot himself in the head,” Matthews said. “He was slumped over the steering wheel and bleeding all over the place.”
The shooter was airlifted to Palmetto Health Richland but died from the gunshot, Matthews said.
Investigators were interviewing the female cab driver late Friday night to find out if the shooter took money from her, Matthews said. He did not know if she or her son were injured.
Peyton Greene, a Checker Yellow manager, could not be reached for comment.
Earlier this summer, Columbia’s taxi drivers were unnerved by a string of violent robberies, including one in which one driver was shot and another case in which the driver was pistol whipped. Columbia police arrested two people and charged them with attempted murder and armed robbery in those incidents.
Friday’s shooting was not the first time someone has been shot and killed at the Waffle House on the 7500 block of Two Notch Road.
In February 2007, 15-year-old Brian Wright was killed in the early morning hours in what police called a gang-related shooting. Three men were arrested in that case after investigators said they fired into a crowd in the parking lot.
View Larger Map