The S.C. State Fair opened on time and with no additional security Sunday, as the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said an arrest could be coming soon in a shooting there that injured a 15-year-old.
Fair manager Gary Goodman said Sunday afternoon people are still going through metal detectors and having bags checked at the entrance, but no additional security measures have been enacted in light of the incident, which occurred on the Midway around 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
The injured teen was reported to be in stable condition Sunday, a sheriff’s department spokesman said, though the extent of the teen’s injuries was unknown.
Sheriff Leon Lott would not identify the teenager Saturday or be specific about where he was shot or why.
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Lott said Saturday, however, that the shooting was not gang related. Lott also rejected a report of a gang fight Friday at the fair that could have led to a Saturday confrontation.
While the fair stopped admitting people into the event, those in the fair were allowed to stay.
The sheriff said after the shooting “nobody was in danger at the fair.”
Goodman said Sunday it was not clear how the gun got into the fair. Goodman said the fair has not confiscated a gun at the entrance gates in his memory, though knives and other hand weapons have been.
“All I can say is the federal government has a lot more assets than we do and people are still getting on planes with guns,” he said. “There’s no perfect system.”
Saturday’s shooting is believed to be the first at the fair since 2004. Then, three teens were injured after someone fired into a crowd in what law enforcement, without elaborating, said was a gang-related incident. One of the teens, Robert Lee Morris Jr., died several days later. He was 14.
The fair since has installed metal detectors at its gates. Bags are searched at the gates. Security cameras are in use across the grounds. And a youth admission police requires all fairgoers under 18 to be accompanied by a parent after 6 p.m.
Staff writers Rachael Lowe and Clif LeBlanc contributed.
SC State Fair’s youth entrance policy
▪ All youth under the age of 18 are required to be accompanied by a parent, age 21+, to be admitted after 6 p.m.
▪ Anyone 18 and over may be asked to show a valid driver’s license to be admitted without a parent after 6 p.m.
▪ Anyone 18 and over without a valid driver’s license and not accompanied by a parent will not be admitted after 6 p.m.
▪ People wearing clothing or jewelry which the fair’s management deems offensive or gang-related will not be permitted to enter.