Video captured on a body camera played in an Horry County courtroom Thursday revealed a heated struggle between two men in the superblock area of Myrtle Beach before one of the men opened fire.
Shai David, charged with attempted murder after shooting and wounding Jack Isiah Rabon in November 2015, has asserted he acted in self defense when he fired at Rabon after, he said, Rabon attacked him.
According to evidence in a "stand your ground" hearing on his charges, David was at the superblock to collect rent from his tenants when he saw Rabon come "out of nowhere." David told police at the scene that he activated his body camera.
"I got you!" David screamed in the footage as another man, identified as Rabon is heard demanding money. "I got the money, please!" David screamed again as a struggle ensued with more screams.
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Witnesses, recorded on police body camera footage, said they saw a man being attacked and the assailant running to a nearby truck. Then, David opened fire.
Five shots, spanning 17 seconds, were heard on David's footage of the encounter.
One of the shots grazed Rabon's head, according to Rabon's testimony.
Myrtle Beach police officer Matthew Ammons testified he found Rabon lying in a pool of blood outside a superblock business. No weapons were found in his possession, he said.
Rabon testified that he was on life support for about three days at the hospital after the shooting.
But David said he was wounded, too.
"He hit me really bad in my back, sir," David was heard telling officers on the scene in other body camera footage. "He beat me on my face, my back. ... It's all on video."
David told officers that Rabon had left a message on his phone a few days earlier, threatening to kill him. He said he sent the message to his attorney and carried a gun and body camera because of Rabon.
"I was talking to my wife on the phone. He came out of nowhere," David is heard on the video. "He just attacked me like a lunatic."
David told police that Rabon carried "several guns" in his truck and that he feared if he didn't shoot, Rabon would have carried out his threat to kill him.
Rabon admitted on the stand to having a firearm, an "old pair of brass knuckles," several different rounds of ammunition and a "small baseball bat" in his truck that day, but said he never used any of the weapons against David.
Rabon said that he lived in a rough part of town and that he had been robbed before so he carried weapons for protection.
David said he and Rabon had some business dealings that didn’t work out and claimed Rabon “just went nuts,” in a recorded interview with police taken a day after the shooting.
The two had real estate dealings and a lawsuit over property was filed shortly before the incident, according to court records. The relationship soured when spoiled business dealings led to a loss of revenue.
A dispute over the money erupted in the fight and gunfire on Nov. 17, 2015, according to court testimony.
After the fight, Rabon attempted to leave in his vehicle, according to an arrest warrant. David started shooting at Rabon as he tried to drive away, causing Rabon to crash his vehicle, police said at the time.
Police said Rabon got out of the wrecked car and hid behind another vehicle, but David followed him. Once David saw the victim behind a vehicle, he moved “to get a clear firing line” and fired another shot at the victim, according to David’s arrest warrant.
After the failed business dealings, Rabon started threatening him, David told police.
In a voice mail to David played in the hearing, Rabon is heard stating “Shai, we have some unfinished business. It would be in your best interest to give me a call.”
The defense’s first witness, a former State Law Enforcement Division officer and current private investigator named Steven Smith told the court he had previously reviewed the tapes from the night of the shooting. Citing his experience as an investigator and law enforcement officer, Smith testified to how a citizen would typically react under fire.
“The idea is to eliminate the threat,” Smith said when asked if David’s actions were considered defensive. “I don’t see how you stop until you have eliminated the threat.”
But Smith added that when Rabon is out of the frame of the camera “that the assumption is that he has run off and that the threat has ended.”
If the judge finds that David acted in self defense, his attempted murder charge will be dropped.
David, the former owner of The Oasis Motel, is also charged with possession of a weapon in connection to the shooting. Myrtle Beach Chief Municipal Judge Jennifer Wilson ordered David to stay away from the victim’s family and ordered David’s passport to be surrendered to the court in November 2015.
The hearing is slated to resume Friday morning.