Boat parade set to honor men who died protecting woman at Chapin bar

Man charged with killing two soldiers at bar denied bond

Officials say the two soldiers were trying to protect a woman who Joseph Mills, 25, was chasing.
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Officials say the two soldiers were trying to protect a woman who Joseph Mills, 25, was chasing.

A boat parade is scheduled Friday to honor two soldiers killed at a Lake Murray restaurant who officials say were defending a woman being chased and beaten.

“This is a tight knit community and we all stick together,” Ken Jones, who owns AquaFun Boat Rentals & Tours in Lexington, said Wednesday. “We’re not going to let one person come in and tarnish everything we’ve built.”

Jones said he’s friends with Justin Brooks, owner of the Frayed Knot Bar & Grill on Dreher Island Road, where the fatal shooting happened around midnight Sunday. Jones wasn’t at the restaurant when the shooting happened.

“I was getting texts at 1 in the morning from friends that were there,” Jones said.

The memorial will leave AquaFun, located at 220 Jakes Landing Road in Lexington, at 4 p.m., Jones said. He estimated it will include about 10 to 15 boats and will reach the Frayed Knot at about 5:15 or 5:30 p.m.

Jones said military members from Fort Jackson will participate, and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources will escort the parade of boats.

Staff Sgt. Charles Allen Judge Jr., 40, and Sgt. 1st Class Jonathon Michael Prins, 29, were killed by a gunman that Lexington County sheriff’s deputies have identified as Joseph Elijah Mills of Little Mountain.

There is video footage of the incident, according to arrest warrants. The footage shows the soldiers rushing to help after the a group of people pulled the suspect off a woman he was attacking, the restaurant owner said.

Mills said during a court appearance earlier this week that the woman had grabbed drugs and ran from him.

A post on the Frayed Knot’s Facebook page called the soldiers heroes.

Sgt. Kyle Caldwell, who met Judge in 2011 when the two worked together in the S.C. National Guard, agreed. He said he had just gotten home to Columbia after vacation in North Carolina when he heard about Judge’s death.

“He followed through with the warrior ethos to always try to protect – not just on the battlefield, but also here at home,” Caldwell said.

Glen Luke Flanagan: 803-771-8305, @glenlflanagan

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